Employee Wellness Programs Worth Their Weight In Gold

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At most jobs, employees aren’t exactly keeping themselves in Olympic shape.

The reasons for this are myriad, but they boil down to one theme: Workers at most jobs don’t move much. It’s easy when your job keeps you chained to your desk to dart out for lunch and grab something satisfying, i.e. food with enough salt and fat to make a whale look svelte. The result, as I can attest from jobs past, is a gradual decline in health.

While many employers want to keep their employees at their desks and working hard, they fail to recognize that doing so and sprinkling in a healthy dose of stress is a quick way to wind up with employee health problems. Those problems, according to Rutgers University, cost U.S. employers to the tune of $226 billion a year.

It’s not exactly rocket science. Ill employees are less productive as a rule, and if they’re ill enough to miss work, you’re getting nothing out of them. A lot of workplace illness is unavoidable, but stress levels and stress-induced sickness are manageable if you have the right kind of plan.

Among the components of a successful one:

  • Employee gym or fitness center
  • Access to counseling, remote or on-site, for everything from stress to pregnancy
  • Informational brochures and histories tailored for specific employee issues
  • Stress management seminars and talks
  • Individual wellness coaches
  • Company events to mitigate stress, e.g. cookouts and casual days

Customization is highly encouraged, of course, given that you’re likely facing unique challenges in your own workplace. But it’s good to have at least a few of those components in your company’s plan.

As an additional plus, the Harvard Business Review says a wellness program can return six times its cost in productivity and revenues. Hard to argue with that.

Does your company have a wellness program? Let us know!

Photo credit to cienpies at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1239807

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