Have you ever stopped to think about all the potential steps you could take to incorporate a healthy activity into your day? You could tag along with your mom when she leads her hiking group on challenging trails three times a week. You could try to meditate with your sister, who swears by the practice to control her cigarette cravings and keep her anxiety at bay. Your best friend praises the benefits of hot yoga to keep her strong and centered and sends you daily texts inviting you to join her.
While all these healthy habits sound beneficial, it may be overwhelming to find the routine that works best for you.
Much like with your own personal health journey, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to an outstanding employer-sponsored wellness program. Some companies focus on mental health by offering relaxation rooms and mindfulness classes. Others provide on-site gardens, yoga classes and workout challenges or the services of an on-site wellness coordinator to encourage a culture of health.
While each employer must take their own approach, common successful program elements include enthusiastic involvement by senior leaders, positive encouragement from internal advocates, engaging and motivating employee incentives as well as measurable success indicators.
Despite debate over just how much wellness programs help improve employee health and lower employer cost, a recent UnitedHealthcare report, “Employee Wellness Programs Bring Results,” found that companies with strong wellness offerings reap cost savings as well as help improve the health of their employees.
To celebrate companies that have implemented innovative and successful wellness programs, UnitedHealthcare bestows its Well Deserved Award each year. These award-winning companies showcase just how much wellness programs can lead to healthier employees and reduced health care costs. In fact, the report reveals how last year’s Well Deserved Award recipients had experienced 14.2 percent lower costs per member per month, and their employees experienced 24 percent fewer emergency room visits compared to a peer group.
As you work at your treadmill desk or head off to your company’s fitness center, remember that the right mix of proven incentives and programs – be it health surveys and challenges, biometric screenings or financial programs – may create a strong, supportive and sustainable workplace culture that’s focused on health and well-being.