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Workplace wellness: Programs benefit employers and employees

Florence Morning News - 9/4/2017

More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits of offering a robust employee wellness program.

Wellness programs can offer incentives to maintain employees' health and well-being. These wellness programs provide employers with many benefits that include a decrease in employee absences due to illness, increased productivity and a healthier work environment.

Some of the incentives that employers might offer:

> Reduced health insurance costs.

> On-site influenza vaccines.

> Discounts on health insurance premiums for completing certain wellness exams such as mammograms, PAP smears, physical exams, dental screenings, eye exams and colonoscopies.

> Wellness education and counseling.

> Free or reduced rates for gym memberships.

> Free pedometers to encourage increased physical activity.

> Wellness challenges to encourage physical activity, weight loss or other healthy activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these programs have a variety of workplace benefits for participating employees, including:

> Influencing social norms.

> Establishing health-promoting policies.

> Increasing healthy behaviors such as dietary and physical activity changes.

> Improving employees' health knowledge and skills.

> Helping employees get necessary health screenings, immunizations, and follow-up care.

> Reducing employees' on-the-job exposure to substances and hazards that can cause diseases and injury.

Companies often have a small percentage of employees who do not participate in the wellness activities. These employees have cited several non-participation reasons. One reason is that the employee is worried about the company attempting to find a health reason in order to terminate the employee. Employers must make a valiant effort to educate their employees that the only information submitted to the company is what screenings the employee had completed and not the results. Another reason is that employees are unaware of the incentives available.

Do you know the wellness benefits your employer offers you? Maintaining your own health is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family, your work and your community, and by taking advantage of wellness programs, you invest in yourself and your company.

Be accountable for and proactive about your own health. Find out about and participate in the wellness incentives and programs your employer offers.


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