Thursday, August 16, 2012

Workplace wellness gets results!

Today, I read this:

Researchers analyzed 56 published studies and found that employers see an average savings of $5.81 for every dollar invested in wellness due to improved employee health and a reduction in medical claims. This number exceeds previous ROI figures of $3 to $4 for every dollar invested. The analysis also found that employers with onsite health programs see (on average):
  • 27 percent decrease in sick leave absenteeism.
  • 26 percent decrease in healthcare costs.
  • 32 percent decrease in workers’ compensation and disability claims.
“Organizations are doing everything they can to cut costs and increase profits, especially in this rocky economy, but many employers still fail to see the cost savings benefit in corporate wellness programs,” says John Golden, president of Core Performance. “What this analysis brings to light is that the benefits of corporate wellness are two-fold. It helps improve worker health and attendance, and it significantly helps improve company financial health."

I hope this research will motivate more companies to implement workplace wellness programs (who cares if it's for their own reasons if you get the benefits, right?)

But today, I'm going to ask WHY we see these results.

"Well", you think to yourself, "if my company supports me, I can be healthier.  If they create a walking path or a gym, I will have a chance to be more active.  If they put healthier lunch options in the cafe, I will be able to make better choices.  If they bring in professionals to help me learn how to integrate healthier behaviors into my routine, I will know what I should be doing!  If my company did that, I would be healthier!"

And I believe all those things to be true!  I would LOVE every employer to understand just how much the health and well being of their employees (all of them, not just the top brass) effect the company bottom line in actual dollars and cents (not just the warm and fuzzy of "employee engagement").

But, from my perspective, your employer can only make it easier for you to do what you should be doing for yourself anyway.  Take a look at your drive to and from work -- how many gyms are relatively close to the route you take on the way home?

How many fresh fruit and veggie stands or farmers markets? ( you know, the ones you always mean to stop at but never do....)

How many depressing news reports do you click on when you open up your computer in the morning when there are a plethora of reputable sources of health information out there?

We can all make different choices.  Workplace wellness programs work because your company mandates or incentivizes you to make the choices you know you should be making anyway.

We're grown ups (to one degree or another, anyway -- depending on the day). 

We have the capability to make the healthier decisions of moving more, packing a healthy option/portion-reasonable lunch, and hiring a health behavior change coach or trainer for ourselves.  We don't need to wait for our company to endorse a healthy lifestyles -- in the end, it's all on us anyway.  Why not start today?

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