On average, Americans work hundreds of hours more per year than their counterparts in the United Kingdom, France, or Japan. When you combine this workaholic lifestyle with easy access to fast food and electronic entertainment, it’s not hard to figure out why America’s workforce is not getting adequate exercise. To address this, many companies are offering wellness programs (initiatives to adopt healthier attitudes and exercise more) to their employees. We think this is an awesome idea! And we understand if you’re curious about starting a program like this for your employees.
Is a wellness program right for your employees? Here’s some reasons we (and many scientists and corporations) think a wellness program can positively impact both the lives of your employees and your bottom line.
Wellness programs lower healthcare costs. Poor lifestyle choices cost employers more than a trillion dollars each year. By encouraging exercise, better nutrition and fitness goals, employers can help their employees quit smoking, lower their cholesterol or even lose weight. Healthcare industry experts estimate that somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of healthcare costs come from problems associated with lifestyle choices, and curbing that (even with simple incentives to go to the local gym) can see dramatic returns.
Fewer sick days. Naturally, when employees are living healthier lives, they’re less likely to get sick and miss work. For instance, the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston instituted a wellness program and saw lost work days decline by 80%. The Center reports a savings totaling $1.5 million.
Reduced stress. Lots of time spent at desks means tension in the joints, increased eyestrain and fatigue. By introducing simple exercises and stretching techniques in the workplace, you can minimize these everyday health risks and also offer employees an easy way to re-energize and de-stress at the office. Nothing beats visiting your local gym for a workout, but simple awareness of countering the health risks of office life can improve your employees’ quality of life.
Better performance. Companies with a wellness program retain their employees longer. Employees who enjoy the perks of a wellness program are more satisfied with their work and less likely to leave, and in exit interviews typically cite wellness programs as one of the things they’ll miss most.
Stronger teamwork. We’ve talked before about the benefits of having a workout buddy. When you give employees an incentive to work out together, you increase camaraderie in the workplace. By creating an environment of health and mindfulness, employees are more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle and work together to maintain it. And teamwork like that is the cornerstone of any healthy corporate culture.
Have any questions about setting a wellness program at your company? Come on in and talk to the staff at your local Fitness Connection. We’re ready to help you make a more meaningful Fitness Connection with your employees.