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3 Benefits of Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace 

benefits of health and wellness programs in the workplace

Your workers are the center of your business, and ensuring they are healthy and productive is essential to your overall success. One way many companies support their employees is by offering health and wellness programs in the workplace. From sponsored step challenges to virtual mental health appointments, incentive programs for positive behaviors to paid time off to volunteer, employer-sponsored wellness offerings run the gamut of activities that support work-life balance. 

Health and wellness programs in the workplace provide many benefits to your workers and organization. Here are three major benefits you may see by offering a wellness program to your employees. 

1. Boosted Employee Productivity 

Many organizations are doing more with less, especially when it comes to staffing levels. The more you can ensure your workers are healthy and ready to work, the better off your business will be.  

Wellness programs that place the focus on developing healthy habits — eating nutrient-rich foods, exercising regularly and reducing the risk of diseases — show your workers that you care about their health. By participating, they can experience a variety of physical and mental health benefits that directly impact their productivity at work. A survey from the nonprofit Health Enhancement Research Organization found that more than 90% of business leaders say that promoting employee wellness can directly improve productivity and performance. 

Healthy employees are less likely to get sick, even minor conditions such as colds and the flu. They can head off chronic conditions that could lead to frequent sick days, too, reducing your absenteeism rates. Even those who have chronic conditions that can be controlled by diet and exercise, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are less likely to miss work because they aren’t feeling well. 

Being physically healthy can also increase energy levels, which translates to better productivity and focus on the job. Not only will healthy employees turn in more work overall, but the quality of their work is also likely to be better than the work of someone who feels sluggish during the workday. 

Exercising regularly and eating well has been proven to contribute to reduced stress and increased resilience. Workers who can control their stress levels will be happier and more productive at work and are less likely to need sick days. 

2. Enhanced Employee Engagement and Satisfaction 

Studies have shown that worker engagement is on the decline. A Gallup poll showed that just 33% of workers reported feeling engaged in their workplace in 2023, and unengaged employees account for approximately $1.9 trillion in lost productivity each year. 

Health and wellness programs in the workplace help workers feel a sense of connection and camaraderie with their coworkers. Even a friendly competition can help a worker who may be struggling to connect with your organization meet new people and build relationships that enhance their engagement with their work. And when workers feel connected to their coworkers and your organization, they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. 

Workplace wellness programs can also help you bolster your overall company culture. By publicly recognizing those employees who are taking steps to improve their health and wellbeing, you are signaling to everyone at your organization that you notice and support their efforts — even when those efforts aren’t directly related to their work. This builds worker trust in management and fosters a positive team environment, increasing employee loyalty and productivity. 

3. Financial Benefits for Businesses 

While employee health and wellness programs do cost money to set up and run, having a dedicated program can pay off in financial returns for your organization. 

If your workers are focusing on improving their health and wellness, you will see savings in healthcare costs. Healthy employees are less likely to get injured at work, saving you on costs related to their treatment, any workers’ compensation claims that may arise and workdays missed to recover from injuries. And when a healthy worker does get injured, they are less likely to require extensive medical care and time off from their duties to recuperate. 

Additionally, healthy workers can help your business make more money. When workers feel well, they’re more productive and their work quality is better. This translates into higher efficiency and a better bottom line for you. 

How to Implement an Effective Health and Wellness Program 

You don’t have to go full-bore on fancy massage sessions in the breakroom or high-dollar wellness challenge prizes to have an effective health and wellness program. You just need to take the time to consider the needs of your workers and your organization, and thoughtfully design a program that meets everyone’s requirements. 

Tailor the Program to Meet Your Needs 

If your budget is small to begin with, look for cost-effective options that can make an impact. Offering your workers a half day to volunteer their time at a cause that’s close to their hearts isn’t going to cost you a lot, but it can make a big difference in boosting your workers’ sense of community and happiness. 

Depending on your worker demographics, some ideas will work better than others. Daily yoga classes aren’t likely to be well-received by a bunch of construction workers, for example, but they may respond well to a smoking cessation program or weight management program. Look at who your employees are, what their struggles may be and any commonalities they may have. You might be surprised at some low-cost but effective wellness programming that might jump out at you. 

Employee Involvement Is Crucial to Program Sustainability 

You want your employees to participate in your health and wellness program, so getting their input is essential. 

It may be helpful to establish a wellness committee made up of individuals at all levels of your organization. This group can come up with ideas for new programs and evaluate current participation. They will also serve as your program’s biggest ambassadors, encouraging their coworkers to participate. 

Conducting a survey, even an informal one, could provide valuable insights on what features your workers want in their wellness program. You can ask about current health and wellness challenges they face, how they would like to see their goals supported and if they have any program ideas. This allows everyone the opportunity to have a voice in how the program is structured. 

Your program must also be continuously evaluated and adapted to meet your organization’s changing needs. If you host a steps challenge that isn’t well-received, take the time to poll your workers about why they did or didn’t participate, and what may make them more likely to join in the future. Evolving your program offerings will make it more likely that everyone will find something that piques their interest, giving you maximum buy-in and better overall results. 

Your Partner in Workplace Health and Wellness Programs 

At Medcor, we know how important it is for your organization’s success to support your workers’ health and wellness journeys. We offer scaleable, adaptable workplace health and wellness programs to meet your unique needs, helping your workers feel supported and improving your results. Speak with an advocate today.