Evaluating Wellness Programs

October 07, 2020

One of the five most frequently cited ways businesses measure health and safety goals are through health and wellness initiatives and programs (83%), according to a recent white paper from the Institute for Supply Management® completed in partnership with Boise Paper*. An employee wellness program, if done successfully, can improve productivity, lessen absenteeism, and boost employee morale – all of which can ultimately affect an organization’s bottom line.

Below are five examples of wellness programs for businesses of all sizes to consider based on organizational needs and resources.

  • Physical Activity – Encouraging employees to increase physical activity can contribute to a healthier and happier workforce. Studies show physically active employees are absent less frequently than their inactive counterparts**. Employers can consider subsidizing gym memberships for employees, offering yoga classes, or even implementing walking meetings.
  • Nutrition Education – Diet plays a critical role in the health of employees, and workplaces are ideal environments for influencing dietary habits. Promote healthy eating by making environmental changes in the workplace, such as providing healthy food options and removing unhealthy food items on site when your team is in the office. Information can also be provided through a variety of communication channels, like brochures, videos, posters, or emails.
  • Stress Management – A report from The Marlin Company, entitled “Attitudes in the American Workplace VII,” found that 80% of workers feel stressed on the job, and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. With the current pandemic, employees are exposed to a great deal of stress outside of work, as well. Mindfulness training can be a simple and effective strategy to offer stress-reducing activities, such as meditation classes. Employers can offer materials on mindfulness, hire a wellness coach, or set up a quiet room for relaxation.
  • Sleep Wellness – Insufficient sleep can have a negative impact on individual health, public safety, and workplace productivity. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), an estimated 1.23 million working days are lost on an annual basis in the U.S. due to insufficient sleep, resulting in up to $411 billion in economic losses. To mitigate these losses, employers can provide education to employees about fatigue, sleep health, and sleep disorders, as well as strategies to improve alertness on the job.
  • Preventative Care – A recent report published by Future Market Insights (FMI) states the number of on-site clinics, particularly those providing preventative care, will continue to increase among businesses throughout the U.S. Many businesses have partnered with clinics to provide COVID-19 testing or occupational therapy. On-site care also makes it very easy for employees to receive immunization and health risk assessments (HRA) without having to leave their workplace.

With a well-designed program in place, employers can promote a healthier and more productive supply chain, which is especially important when companies are looking to make buying decisions.

*”A Supply Management View of Sustainability: Broadening the Lens Can Make an Impact on the Environment, Community — and the Bottom Line.” Institute for Supply Management in collaboration with Boise Paper, 2019, https://p.widencdn.net/qzoakx/White-Paper-Boise-FINAL

**Goetzel, R. Z. et al. Ten modifiable health risk factors are linked to more than one-fifth of employer-employee health care spending. Health Aff. (Millwood) 31, 2474–2484 (2012).

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