Worksite Wellness Worksite Wellness
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many employers offer worksite wellness programs as a benefit to their employees. Worksite wellness programs vary from company to company based on employee needs and interests and the resources available for the program. Common program elements include discounted gym memberships to encourage physical activity, tobacco free workplace policies and cessation classes, or providing healthy foods in cafeterias and vending machines. Many of these program elements are provided in conjunction with incentives for participation or meeting a health goal such as losing weight or lowering cholesterol to improve employee health. Wellness program incentives can take many forms including discounted health care premiums, time off, prizes, recognition by coworkers or supervisors, or cash.
Numerous studies have found that investment in a worksite wellness program can be worth the employer’s initial cost. In 2009, Preventing Chronic Disease published a case study of a worksite wellness program in Austin, Texas which found that employees engaged in more physical activity, had better knowledge of disease management (diabetes and asthma), had better eating habits, and smoked less than they did before the program was implemented. Furthermore, the research team concluded that the program contributed to a reduction in employer costs associated with employee health care and absenteeism. Read complete study.
With workers in America today spending more than one-third of their day on the job, employers are in a unique position to promote the health and safety of their employees. The use of effective workplace programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for millions of workers in the United States. Find out if your company offers a worksite wellness program and ask your doctor or health care provider to help you decide if you can benefit.