Many businesses, small and large, offer wellness programs to their employees. Yet, there are still concerns about whether wellness programs actually help or are just costing the business money. Despite the concerns regarding privacy and effectiveness, studies show that promoting healthy habits benefits both the employer and employee.
Here are 5 reasons why having a wellness program in the workplace is important.
- Health, active employees incur lower health costs. Lower health costs benefit both the employer and the employee. If health costs are lower, employers may pass a small percentage of the bill on to workers. A study conducted by the Healthy Workplace Project showed that by implementing a wellness program in the workplace the health care expenses the business was incurring decreased per person per year for several years leading to a return of investment of about $2.00 for every dollar spent on the wellness program.
- Employees who take advantage of wellness programs are more productive. Research in adults shows a link between physical activity and cognitive benefits like memory and focus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) productivity losses related to personal and family health programs cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year. Evidence also indicates that instituting workplace health programs can reduce the average sick leave and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs by approximately 25%.
- Physically active employees are healthier. Employee wellness programs that encourage physical activity can improve the overall health and wellbeing of the workforce. Studies show that an hour of exercise a day can help to mitigate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
- Wellness programs inspire important behavior changes. Making behavior changes can be difficult for anyone, but studies show the presence of a wellness program in the workplace can help those changes happen. Benefits of a wellness program can include improvements in physical activity, higher fruit and vegetable consumption, lower fat intake, and a reduction in body weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
- Tax Incentives. Business owners may be able to take advantage of tax incentives for workplace wellness programs. Several U.S. states have tax credits to incentivize business owners to implement employee wellness programs. Visit https://www.irs.gov/businesses for more information on any potential tax credit you may be eligible for.
Wellness programs can help both your business and your employees. Consider how your workplace can become a healthier place and think about implementing a wellness program.