Workplace wellness programs have been all the rage in recent years, offering many benefits to employers and employees alike. A 2019 survey of large employers found that 84 percent were offering wellness programs, many of which included substantial incentives for participation.
And it’s not only large organizations; companies of all sizes can reap several rewards after launching a workplace wellness program. Investing in the health of your employees lowers health risks, decreases medical costs, and improves both employee engagement and office productivity.
How Workplace Wellness Programs Benefit Companies
Wellness programs benefit companies in a myriad of ways. A few of the most significant benefits include the following.
1. Lower insurance premiums
Wellness programs can improve the health of your employees and, in turn, decrease healthcare costs and insurance premiums. A well-designed wellness program can reduce healthcare costs for your entire organization because it minimizes the need for medical services. A big reason wellness programs reduce costs is because they focus on preventing and controlling diseases before they come to fruition.
This helps you avoid expensive insurance claims related to heart attacks, strokes, and chronic diseases. Although the return on investment (ROI) varies, RAND reports companies can see a $3.80 ROI for every dollar invested in a disease management program, ultimately leading to $136 saved per member per month.
2. Happier, healthier workforce
Employees are happier and more engaged in the workplace when their company is invested in their overall health and well-being. Encouraging and incentivizing healthy habits leads to healthier employees with fewer chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and depression. There’s also the factor of mental health in the office, which can have a substantial impact on everything from your employees’ happiness to their workplace productivity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only further exacerbated the growing mental health crisis in the U.S., spotlighting the need for a stronger investment in both mental and physical wellness. There is a strong correlation between mental and physical health. For example, people with depression have a higher risk of developing a physical illness. Plus, time and time again, mental health disorders are associated with higher resource utilization and healthcare costs for patients with chronic diseases.
3. Less turnover, more new talent
Investing in health and wellness can reduce turnover, improve retention, and attract new talent by demonstrating that the company cares for its employees. Wellness programs give companies a competitive advantage when candidates are comparing benefits packages at different jobs.
Investing in a culture of wellness is an added benefit when you’re recruiting talent from younger generations, who consistently place a higher value on their health and finding a company that invests in it. Millennials and Generation Z, who account for a large portion of the workforce, have already been coined “the wellness generations” due to their ever-increasing focus on health and wellness.
Additionally, the younger generations have been even more dedicated to wellness since the emergence of COVID-19. In fact, 60 percent said they believe “the way we take care of our health will be the most lasting societal change after this pandemic,” according to Vice.
4. Productive, present employees
Research suggests that the cost of lost productivity is double or even triple the cost of healthcare. Fortunately, corporate wellness programs empower employees to work more efficiently due to reduced rates of depression, better sleep and eating habits, and other smart lifestyle choices.
Healthier employees are also less likely to take sick days and more likely to be engaged when they’re in the office. Well-managed wellness programs can also minimize presenteeism by engaging employees and inspiring them to work harder and more efficiently. According to the Global Wellness Institute, 70-80 percent of U.S. companies believe wellness programs improve workplace productivity and reduce absenteeism.
5. Stronger company culture
Employee wellness can have a significant impact on company culture. You can improve your company culture as a whole by empowering employees to engage in healthier lifestyle choices, such as good sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
Doing so will allow you to work toward developing and promoting a culture of health and wellness for all of your company’s employees. What are the benefits? Research shows that the promotion of health and wellness results in stronger employee engagement, trust, and satisfaction.
Launching a workplace wellness program may seem daunting, but with the right approach and resources, the benefits will more than make up for it. The investment will pay for itself not only by helping to lower healthcare costs and increase productivity, but also by resulting in a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce empowered by a culture of wellness.