Corporate Wellness Programs: The Rundown
Corporate wellness programs have grown from being simple job perks into a field of important services meant to optimize employee productivity and retention. By providing disease prevention and early detection of health issues, these programs are taking on a vital role long underserved by the American medical industry.
A wellness program can take many forms: there isn’t one set standard, but rather a myriad of options that employers can put in place based on the specific needs of their employees. To explore corporate wellness and how it benefits both the employer and employee, let’s take an overview of existing programs and their results.
What are Corporate Wellness Programs?
A corporate wellness program is made of activities and events sponsored by an employer to promote the health of their workforce. It can include exercise classes or competitions, therapy, screenings, instruction, or mentoring. Wellness programs can effect change in company policy, such as to prohibit smoking or encourage vacation time. Some programs may include financial incentives for meeting health goals.
The purpose of these programs is to promote employee health and prevent medical issues down the road. Some wellness programs have many offerings—others only offer a gym discount. The content of the wellness program is up to each company.
Why is Corporate Wellness Important?
Modern work life is often sedentary, and comes with a host of stresses, from carpal tunnel syndrome to poor exercise habits and inadequate nutrition. The expense of these programs is offset by the cost of missing or poorly performing workers hampered by pain and illness.
Until the medical industry becomes more proactive about prevention, corporate wellness programs represent a sizeable percentage of general health care in our communities.
Who Benefits from Corporate Wellness Programs?
Both employers and workers benefit from a corporate-sponsored wellness program. The business justification is that better health means better employee performance and retention.
Participation in wellness programs isn’t universal, of course. Not everyone will take a smoking-cessation class. Others ditch the aerobics and replace it with yoga—or skip the yoga and replace it with nothing. Employees can only benefit to the degree they engage with the programs offered.
What is Included in a Corporate Wellness Program?
Exercise – Guided instruction in yoga, weight training, pilates, as well as aerobic classes. Games and contests can be included for motivation.
Therapy – Mental health assistance, individual or group discussions, massage, tai chi, and other therapeutic offerings.
Life Management – Anti-stress seminars, sleep coaching, help with work-life balance, financial management skills.
Diet Support – Help with weight loss, better nutrition and proper exercise.
Hobbies and Skills – Recreational classes including cooking, artistic crafts, and other enjoyable activities.
Counseling – Specific help includes credit repair, financial assistance programs, family issues and substance abuse recovery.
Company Policies – Wellness can be promoted through policy changes: some examples include healthy snacks in company vending machines and a more nutritious cafeteria menu, reminders to take appropriate breaks, and no-smoking rules.
Health Screenings – Cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index, etc. This is a controversial wellness offering, because some people worry about discrimination based on these statistics. However, many employees find these diagnostics useful for determining what steps they need to take to improve their health and track their progress.
Do Corporate Wellness Programs Work?
The answer isn’t straightforward. Yes, these wellness programs are needed and do help many employees, but not all wellness programs actually save money. Some don’t do much for anyone, it seems.
This is because in many workplaces, those who access wellness programs tend to already be engaged in their health, while those who would most benefit from the program don’t participate. It’s not that individual programs aren’t worthwhile or productive—many of them are—it’s just that those who participate are mainly those involved in healthy activities anyway.
It’s harder to bring health value to this engaged group, though they use wellness programs more than other groups. Those who don’t go to the gym or engage in their health, sadly, usually don’t take advantage of a wellness program, either—they have a program, and it involves a couch, not a treadmill.
What’s different about the corporate wellness programs that GoPivot offers is that we know how to personalize wellness for individuals all along the health spectrum — from those who are sedentary or need help with smoking cessation to those who are triathletes and crave more of a challenge.
With teams, challenges, customized nutrition plans, personalized exercise playlists and more, we make it easy to get more of your team members involved and moving than you may have thought possible.
The Future of Corporate Wellness Programs
The concept of employee wellness is still an important topic for many companies because of the potential for these programs to benefit both sides of the workforce equation.
Wellness programs are an important opportunity for those who can (and will) engage. To maximize value, corporate programs may need new ways to reach those who are in most need. The GoPivot platform and our FitWarrior program have been proven to get noticeable results — even from the least healthy employees.
Seeing corporate resources being allocated to health and wellness — such as by promoting exercise, stress management, nutrition, smoking cessation, emotional health and more — is a positive trend. Because employees who enjoy better physical and mental health are also more productive, the future will likely see developments in the most effective and popular corporate wellness programs. GoPivot will be there to lead the way.