Feb 13, 2014

How To Establish an Employee Wellness Program

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Establishing an Employee Wellness Program is an effective way to maintain a healthy workforce, especially in the automotive, roads and fuel industries. Integrating a beneficial amount of activity throughout the workday can be difficult when working in a factory, on a line, on roads, and in offices, as is typical of many AWANE members. The Boston Globe recently reported that about 80% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 (the majority of the US workforce) do not get as much exercise as recommended. Giving your employees a break to stretch their legs every six hours may not be enough to offset some of the drawbacks of inactivity that can affect their health. Here’s how establishing an Employee Wellness Program can help your employees’ health and your business.

Benefits of an Employee Wellness Program

Lower Health Care Costs

As confirmed by a recent Harvard study, workplace wellness programs result in health care cost savings, and according to the Department of Labor, costs continue to drop as long as these programs remain in place. The Center for Disease Control cites physical activity as one of the most effective disease prevention behaviors, so an active and exercising workforce is less likely to suffer from costly chronic conditions.

Higher Job Performance

Many studies (including this one from the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention) have shown that workers, particularly in factory settings, are far more productive when they participate in wellness programs. Workers also report higher job satisfaction and morale, which results in better job performance.

How to Establish an Employee Wellness Program

Here are some steps to take once you have decided to implement a program at your workplace.

Take advantage of Insurer Benefits

Many insurance plans, recognizing that the savings they are reaping for the insured being proactive about their health, will give discounts or rewards. Tap into this and you and your employees can cash in on benefits.

Define your Wellness Program Plan

Ask yourself the following questions to determine what your Employee Wellness Program will look like:
  • What type of program will work best for your company? Will your team be able to go to a lunchtime class at a nearby gym? Do you have the space to set up a workout room onsite?
  • How will you encourage participation? Will your leadership participate and actively encourage participation from the entire team?
  • What will the incentives be? Is there a monetary benefit for participation, or a competition/gamification aspect for employee involvement?
  • How much will you invest? Will you simply pay the employees for the time they spend participating, or will you cover or split the cost of the program? Will you outfit a gym area or provide participants with a gym bag or T-shirt? Depending on your budget, there are various ways you can get creative with your contributions.

Get Everyone Involved

Make sure that you clearly communicate the details of your Employee Wellness Program to your managers and employers. You many benefit from appointing a person in charge of promoting the benefits of participation. Display posters to reinforce the messaging of good health and other incentives to your workers. And finally, recognize those who participate, reinforcing your commitment to their health.

Establishing an employee wellness program can do great things for your workers and your business. For more tips on a healthy workplace, visit the AWANE Health & Wellness blog.