What is a Wellness Program?

Creating and managing a wellness program is the first step to improving employee health and promoting engagement and productivity within your company. Wellness programs can lower employee healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism, and produce a healthier and happier workforce. 

By designing a wellness program based on your target audience, you can create a program that makes a difference. You must take care of your workforce. But being aware of workplace wellness and implementing a program that brings about change are two different things. From healthy eating advice to on-site fitness facilities, you can make it easy to integrate health and fitness into daily activities in the workplace. In this article, we look at why you need a wellness scheme and the top nine things you should include in your employee wellness program. Skip ahead to:

  • What is an Employee Wellness Program?
  • Why Do You Need a Wellness Program?
  • 3 Examples of a Great Wellness Program
  • 9 Things to Include in Your Workplace Wellness Program

What is an Employee Wellness Program? 

A wellness program is also known as worksite wellness or employee wellness. Basically, it’s a collection of initiatives an organization runs to promote healthy lifestyles among employees. Numerous wellness initiatives address different parts of wellness like stop-smoking programs, weight loss, and diabetes management. 

Wellness goes beyond your physical health and can include several dimensions of wellness: financial, social, physical, and environmental. You can address different dimensions of wellness through workplace initiatives to improve the overall well-being of your employees. This helps to improve health outcomes and promote good health in the workplace. 

Your wellness program is in addition to health insurance. It’s an additional benefit that encourages your staff to stay healthy or improve their health. Programs can range from specific ideas to incentive programs to help you achieve the desired outcome. Worksite wellness can be both ongoing and one-off events. Unlike health insurance, your employees need to choose to sign up for your wellness program. So, it’s important that you cater to them so you can get the most out of it. 

Why Do You Need a Wellness Program? 

More and more companies are now offering wellness programs. That means that you’re competing for great employees with companies that offer additional wellness benefits. When making an employment decision, a wellness program is an attractive quality. It shows that you care about employee well-being and are taking an interest in creating a healthy workforce. When looking for a new role, 87% of employees look for an employer who supports a healthy work-life balance. 

Financial, emotional, and physical wellness all have a role to play in a person’s happiness. Wellness programs need to go beyond encouraging more daily steps, they need to encompass multiple dimensions of wellness. With more people working from home, mental health is such an integral part of wellness. Months of isolation and uncertainty are taking their toll on a lot of people. Companies need to ensure that wellness programs are multi-dimensional. Even before the pandemic, 91% of Gen Z and 85% of Millennial employees said that employers should already have a mental health work policy in place. 

In general, healthier employees are more productive and engaged with their work. They need fewer sick days and are less stressed. By ingraining wellness into the company culture, you promote healthy living from the inside and enforce it each day. 

Although wellness programs benefit employees, this can have a clear impact on the business. Stressed employees need more sick days and struggle to remain engaged throughout the day. By improving morale and lowering stress levels, you can increase employee retention, get a return on investment, and increase your bottom line. In the long-term, it can save a lot of money in healthcare costs as your employees are living healthier lives. 

3 Examples of a Great Wellness Program 

Wellness programs often include similar elements that support employees and promote healthy living. You can see that some of the top companies take full advantage of the effects of a wellness program. It’s not only a part of the business that’s very attractive for potential employees, but it supports a healthy work-life balance and increases employee retention. Here are three examples of great wellness programs. 

Adidas UK 

The Adidas UK head office has on-site medical and fitness facilities for its employees. The wellness culture in Adidas focuses on physical and mental strength. They support their employees through a holistic approach encompassing physical, mental, and social well-being. Adidas’s global employees also have access to fitness facilities and sports with a focus on mindset, nutrition, medical services, and movement in its employee wellness program.  

Nike 

One of the world’s leading sports brands has some great wellness initiatives. On the Nike headquarters campus, you can find weight rooms, yoga studios, a rock-climbing wall, and an indoor swimming pool. Nike encourages employees to stay fit and healthy by giving them access to a range of on-site fitness facilities.  

Fitbit 

Fitbit encourages employees to move more using their own fitness trackers. The most active steppers receive rewards. This is designed to encourage less active employees to move more by giving them an incentive. They also stock kitchens with healthy snacks to support good nutrition. 

9 Things to Include in Your Workplace Wellness Program 

When designing and creating your employee wellness program, it’s important to think about your target audience. Your employees will choose to sign up for the scheme. If it’s not helpful in the right way, you may find that the uptake is low. The aim of your wellness program is to encourage healthy living and improve health outcomes in all areas of well-being. Here are nine things to include in your wellness program. 

1. Medical Screening and Flu Shots 

Your body tends to give you early warning signs when something isn’t right. But it’s easy to ignore these and carry on with your day. Wellness health screenings are at the core of an effective well-being program. It allows you to carry out a health risk assessment and identify early warning signs so you can step in with the right help. During a biometric medical screening, you can test for a range of health points like blood glucose, blood pressure, tobacco use, stress, BMI, cholesterol, and cancer screening. This gives you a chance to identify health risks and actively improve health outcomes with a health plan. It also allows your employees to track their own health. On top of medical screening, it’s useful to offer a vaccination clinic for flu shots and anything else your employees need. 

2. Weight Loss Programs  

Being overweight can put you at a higher risk of developing several health conditions. One study with over 10,000 participants investigated whether corporate wellness weight loss programs create effective and long-term results. Overall, the research shows that employee weight loss programs do work and keep the weight off when employees have repeated and on-going access to the program. Basically, for weight loss to be successful for employees, they need to continue to have access to help. When employees come back to the wellness plan or continue to have access to resources like healthy snack and lunch options, access to your facilities, and regular health education, they can create long-term habits and healthy behaviors.  

3. Fitness Programs and Workshops 

On-site fitness facilities, gym memberships, and access to sports and exercise classes promote regular physical activity. By making it as easy as possible to work out and exercise, it helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce work-related stress. Consider creating team fitness challenges and workshops as well as stress management programs and support. Digital fitness and apps can support employees’ health when they are at home and out of the workplace. 

4. Social Support Groups 

Social wellness is a part of the well-being puzzle. When people feel isolated, lonely, or have a lack of social support, it can impact their health, productivity, and engagement at work. Part of cultivating a culture of health and wellness at work involves fostering social connections. Engaging your employees’ social wellness can reduce stress, improve happiness and engagement. To support social connections, you could create a social sport in the workplace, find ways to celebrate your team members, and do fun team-building wellness activities together.  

5. Stop Smoking Services

If you have employees who are struggling to stop smoking, then this service is useful to include in your wellness program. Stopping smoking is hard, and many people try again and again only to continue smoking. Innovative smoking cessation programs can drive results and improve health outcomes. Smoking still contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Smokers are much more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, leading to higher healthcare costs over their lifetime. 

6. Financial Education and Retirement Savings Plan 

With a workforce crippled by student debt and rising living costs and expenses, financial wellness has a big role to play in overall well-being. Financial stress can impact engagement, productivity, and attendance. Your financial wellness program can include initiatives to help your employees feel in control of their finances. Think about tools that will help them to decrease debt, save more money, and spend smarter. A retirement savings plan and good financial health information is a great place to start. 

7. Access to Nature 

Getting out in nature and connecting with the natural world can do wonders for your well-being and stress levels. Research suggests that people who spend more time outdoors experience health benefits like reducing stress and blood pressure as well as improving immune function. You can create a work environment that encourages the use of the outdoors. Integrate lots of natural light and window views as well as bringing plants into the workplace. Meetings outdoors and social spots provide employees with access to nature. 

8. Flexible Working 

A wellness culture in an organization offers flexibility. By finding ways to create flexible-working opportunities, it can help improve overall well-being. Employees that are happier and healthier are more motivated and engaged with their work. By taking care of your employees, it can have a serious positive impact on your business. Being able to work around medical appointments, school runs, and other responsibilities without taking time off work is hugely beneficial. 

9. Work-Life Balance 

Employees are becoming increasingly concerned with their work-life balance. Encouraging your team to skip lunch, put in long hours, and miss vacation days can result in an unhappy workforce. Even if you indirectly support these actions, it can create unhappy employees. Staff members with little work-life balance tend to be the least engaged and productive. Instead, try to make a work-life balance a priority for your employees. Emphasize that you value your employee’s life outside of work. To improve work-life balance, it’s important to identify burnout when you see it, embrace flexible working, and encourage efficient working. 

In Summary 

The best employee wellbeing programs help members to take actionable steps to form healthy habits. Ongoing access is key to a successful program that delivers effective and long-term results. Whether it’s providing free gym memberships and online workouts or implementing flexible working, you can incentivize wellness. Leverage technology and streamline your well-being program to make it as easy as possible to integrate into your employee’s daily activities. 

Your employees are at the heart of your business. It’s the people who interact with your customers daily and create an incredible fitness experience that your members love. Unhappy employees are not productive, motivated, or engaged with their work. This can have a knock-on effect on all areas of your business, including your customer services, fitness experience, and the success of your business. A high employee turnover rate is off-putting to new talent. To compete in the fitness industry, you need excellent and high-quality staff. A company that cares about its employee well-being and promotes wellness in the culture works to improve health outcomes and create a healthier and happier workforce. 

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