Why Corporate Wellness Programs?
Corporate Wellness programs are becoming increasingly more popular among companies of all sizes for numerous reasons. The primary reason is that medical insurance rates are at an all time high and show no signs of decreasing in the near future. Not to mention U.S. companies lose approximately $225 million in lost productivity due to absenteeism annually.
Americans are the most obese society in the Western world, while having access to the best quality foods. This trend doesn’t look to decline anytime soon because obesity in our children has also reached epidemic proportions. So what is the answer……….education?
Education is the key and corporate wellness programs are the best mode of educating the busy working population. The costs associated with incorporating a health and wellness program into a company intra-structure is minimal compared to the savings in productivity, insurance and employee morale.
The weight loss market is over $30 billion a year. Of 200 million American adults, 130 million want to lose weight, and 54 million are actively on a diet at any given time. Obesity-related diseases cost the healthcare industry over $115 billion a year. As a result major U. S. corporations such as Coors and Merrill Lynch have been implementing corporate wellness programs in an effort to reduce their healthcare costs. Coors has realized a $6.15 return on each dollar spent on preventative care.
What exactly is a corporate wellness program? Corporate Wellness or worksite health promotion refers to the systematic approach, endorsed by an organization, that is designed to enhance the health of the company and it’s most important asset: it’s employees. In essence Corporate Wellness is an action step taken by an employer to increase the health and well-being of its employees.
The very term “wellness” suggests an all-encompassing or holistic approach to health. That is to say that a wellness program is more than physical fitness instruction or nutritional education. Although the health of the body is important; equally important is the health of the mind and spirit.
Here are some examples of what a corporate wellness program can do for company’s employees.
High stress levels are one of the leading causes of on-set disease, depression, low energy levels, lack of mental clarity and creativity. By reducing employees stress levels companies will increase overall productivity, employee’s positive attitude, while lowering insurance costs.
“A healthy employee is a happy employee.” People who are fit and healthy tend to be happier and more productive at their place of work; and their upbeat and positive attitude tends to be contagious increasing productivity.
Corporations lose $225 million dollars in lost productivity due to absenteeism every year. It is no secret that lifestyle behaviors have a direct correlation with diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. By preventing certain illnesses affected by lifestyle choices, employee sick leave decreases dramatically.
The cost of recruiting, hiring and retaining a qualified staff in today’s job market can be costly not to mention a tremendous strain for employers. Providing wellness programs to employees adds to their benefit package and also demonstrates that the employer cares about the employee’s well being.
HEALTH CARE COST CONTAINMENT
A recent medical study concluded that sedentary lifestyles will cost $24 billion in annual medical costs. If as little as 10% of these sedentary individuals adopted a regular walking program, it is estimated that $5.6 billion in medical costs could be saved.
If your company has not invested in a corporate wellness program for your employees what are you waiting for? Help your employees help themselves.
Michael George is a Fitness Expert and the President of Michael George Enterprises Inc., which specializes in health education and wellness programs. Michael and his "Dream Team" of wellness experts are available for consulting, speaking, seminars and corporate wellness programs.
By Michael George