There have been many debates about the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs, both financially and psychologically. Some employees have shied away from the idea of sharing personal information such as exercise, eating and smoking habits with their employers due to a potential impressions it may leave, or simply because they want to keep their work and personal life separate. But the truth of the matter is, when it comes to saving money, workplace wellness programs are the way to go.
In a study performed by the University of Minnesota, employees received discounts of up to $300 from their health insurance by completing a health questionnaire, biking to campus or setting personal fitness goals. The grocery store chain, Safeway, has become a leading example in workplace wellness programs with its Live Life, Live Long, Live Well program. If employees “pass” a series of four tests, annual premiums are reduced by up to $780 for individuals and $1,560 for families.
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The benefits of workplace wellness programs reaches far beyond just savings for employers and their employees. Saving money on health insurance motivates employees to stay healthy, an overall goal every human should strive for, as well as boosted morale and productivity in the workplace. A weight loss program, for example, can bring out the competitive side in employees and employers which can increase employee engagement. Practicing healthy habits in and out of the office can improve focus, productivity and confidence in employees, making them better workers and people.
“Wellness programs continue to offer an effective way for employers to encourage healthy behavior without having to decrease benefits, reduce wages or close their doors altogether,” said a Representative from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who was quoted in workplace wellness study.
Improving health of employees can also save the company money by paying less in medical costs and a reduction in absenteeism. No company wants to have an office full of tired, unproductive and unmotivated employees. Using incentives such as gym memberships, cash and gift card rewards, discounts at vitamin/supplement stores and improved office equipment can give employees the motivation they need.
Do you have a workplace wellness program? We’d love to hear about it!
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