Wellness Programs at Work: Five Reasons to Join
06/13/2016 | Health Apps, Fitness/Nutrition Data
In addition to salaries and bonuses, employers offer benefits to stay competitive and attract the best talent possible. Motivations for candidates vary; one person may be in it for the money, another may want a flexible work schedule or the ability to telecommute. A healthy work culture is at the top of the list for many folks, and employers are making that a reality by instituting corporate wellness programs. These programs offer healthy workspaces, health screenings, activities and incentives for everyone’s well being.
1. Save time and develop good habits. Since a majority of our time is spent at work, a wellness program that encourages daily exercise and healthy nutritional options helps to develop and solidify healthy habits. Many workplaces have onsite gyms or discounts for joining a gym. Also, your workplace may have a cafeteria with a salad bar and other whole-food options. An added perk: some employers provide free catered lunches that include healthy and varied cuisine choices.
2. Track your progress. Typically these programs use regular biometrics to track your progress. For example, your BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are checked at regular intervals. This gives you an opportunity to establish a baseline and then make healthy changes if any of these values need improvement. The goal is that your biometrics change for the better, showing your excellent progress! Diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart conditions may be prevented with lifestyle changes.
3. Sense of community. Joining your coworkers in a healthy lifestyle makes it fun and more joyful to come to work. Your workplace may be designed to encourage more walking from building to building (or even riding a bike to and from meetings like at Google.) Also, non-smoking policies and standing workstations encourage on-the-job wellness.
4. Fabulous prizes! A reduction in the cost of your health benefits is usually offered for your participation although incentives and prizes will vary from company to company. What’s the latest incentive? Progressive organizations offer genetic testing. These tests offer personalized reports for diet, fitness, cancer risk and tolerance for certain medications. Personalized genetic or dietary counseling often accompanies the test to ensure you understand the report and actions you can take to optimize environmental influencers like diet and exercise.
5. Chill out. Onsite stress reducers like yoga classes or chair massage programs can make all the difference in relieving some of the day’s pressures at work. Walking and running clubs and challenges are also a great way to reset and refresh during your lunch break. Classes on stress- reducing topics like better communication skills and ways of working with difficult people may be offered through your organizational development department. If not, you may have an educational reimbursement program that covers these types of classes.
The benefits of a corporate wellness program are many — happier and healthier employees, lower cost of health insurance and a positive work culture. Since many diseases are preventable by improving diet, increasing exercise and reducing stress, a wellness program at work cuts down on sick days and makes for a more positive work environment. If your workplace doesn’t have a wellness program, consider speaking with your manager or human resources representative. Even better, start your own program — here’s a few resources to get you going. Here’s to your good health!