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The 5 Most Popular Features of Corporate Wellness Programs

5-features-of-corporate-wellness-programsDid you know that chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity account for 75% of total health care costs? According to an article on Forbes.com, it's true. However, many of these diseases can be prevented by adapting to a healthy lifestyle. Considering the average amount of time that employees spend in the office, the increasing cost of health care and the fact that 80% of American workers say they feel stressed at work, it makes sense to have a corporate wellness program in place to help employees stay as happy and healthy as can be.

Whether your company would like to add a corporate wellness program to your employee benefits plan, or  just want to enhance an existing program, you should review the following list of the five most popular features of corporate wellness programs today:

1. Health Risk Assessments (HRA)

This health questionnaire is typically the first step used to providing your employees with an evaluation of their health risks and quality of life. There are numerous benefits to implementing an HRA within your company. It will allow you to assess the overall health status of your employees and estimate the level of health risk throughout your company. At the same time, you are able to offer feedback to participants and promote ways to motivate lifestyle changes to reduce health risks.

2. Biometric Screenings

More than 55% of large employers offered an on-site biometric screening in 2012. Biometric screenings benefit both employees and employers. Biometric screening tests for vital information such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is important to remember that these screenings should not replace physical exams and doctor appointments. The results of a biometric screening should be used to inform and educate an employee on the state of his/her health. They can also help with the prevention and early detection of health issues, such as diabetes and cancer. Combining biometric screenings with wellness programs help convince employees to get screened who otherwise may not do it on their own.

3. Health Coaching Sessions

It can be difficult to persuade someone to change their unhealthy habits. We've all heard the saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," and this is no different. When people get used to a certain lifestyle, it can be difficult to change. But with the right tools in hand, it is a goal within reach. Health-coaching sessions often include a list of relevant topics that appeal to employees. It offers them the opportunity to speak one-on-one with an expert about topics such as stress management, nutrition, and exercise. 

Employers are also incorporating wellness workshops, lunch and learn, and health fairs so that employees can focus and learn about specific health related topics. Some employers are even taking it a step further by offering healthy food options in their work cafeterias.

4. Physical Fitness

There are a number of ways to help employees incorporate physical fitness into their daily routine. Many companies have started to offer free or discounted gym memberships to promote physical fitness, while others are bringing the gym to the office.

Some common, popular, and innovative gyms-on-the move include pop-up gyms that will bring all the necessary equipment to a workplace so that employees can conveniently stay active. Many companies are setting up activities that employees can participate in daily like walking groups, and treadmill workstations. By promoting physical fitness to employees, companies are helping to create a happier and more productive workplace.

According to the Journal of Phsychosomatic Medicine, people who are happy are more resistant to diseases ranging from the common cold to heart disease, while stress and anxiety tend to make people more susceptible to sickness, including diabetes and stroke. When you have healthy employees versus unhealthy employees you may also notice an increase in attendance and a decrease in absenteeism.

5. Web-Based Health Tracking Tools

This feature is one that can be useful to track long-term progression and is a great tool to help support wellness programs. This allows employees to track calories, weight, and monitor their progression. This information is made readily available, usually displayed in an easy-to-understand visual representation, making it easy to track progress and continue participation in a program. Web-based programs can also provide pertinent information to program participants, including health tips, recipes, and forums to discuss other health topics. When a web-based program is incorporated to a corporate wellness program, the possibilities are endless.

The referenced features are just a glimpse of what corporate wellness programs can offer employees. Different wellness campaigns should be developed to engage employees and increase participation. Creativity is a key factor when it comes to wellness campaigns because one size does not fit all. Many companies are creating fun contests and activities that include an incentive. According to the Wellness Council of America, a $1 investment in a wellness program saves $3 in health care costs. There are many different ways to educate and engage employees to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Doing so will ultimately affect a company's bottom-line. After all, healthy, happy workers are productive worker. 




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