Dynamic Happenings

Wellness Programs at the Workplace - Upcoming Trends & Challenges

May 22, 2014 General

At present, around 50% of U.S. employers offer some kind of wellness program
to their employees.  Are you catching up? If not, it’s high time to start thinking
about one. Workplace wellness programs are playing a larger role in the corporate
world for theobvious reason. Having healthier employees on-board translates into a self-driven workforce that helps the organization achieves its goals, efficiently and effectively. An added feature is that wellness programs can be customized and scaled
up or down to fit with the organization’s budget and needs.

Originally started to deal with the rising costs of health insurance, wellness programs are no more restricted to offering fitness education, regular check-ups and discounted gym memberships. Rather, it has acquired a much broader scope encompassing a wide range of healthcare services including preventive healthcare and subsidized healthy lunches.

The Role of Preventive Healthcare in Wellness Programs
Preventive healthcare is an indispensable component of any wellness program. Way too often, preventive healthcare plans are mixed up with health insurance. Contrary to the perception, these two are quite different, each serving specific purposes. Preventive healthcare involves focusing on preventive measures such as diagnostic tests and doctor’s advice. A typical health insurance plan may not provide the coverage for expenses incurred on such preventive measures. Providing your employees a preventive health care plan is a smart way to keep them healthy, and this could lead to reducing healthcare costs as well.

Wellness Trends at the Workplace
One of the recent trends at the workplace is to on-board a physician to do the regular check-ups and routine health care rounds. Another trend is getting employees vaccinated at the workplace. One wellness movement that has really gained in popularity is setting up an in-house fitness facility. But setting up a dedicated workout space or taking similar initiatives for your employees is not just about increased productivity, it’s also about showing your employees that you are concerned about their well-being which in turn translates in stronger workplace relationships and leads to long term commitment from both ends.

The Challenge
There are many employers out there who get excited thinking of what wellness initiatives can do for their organization. But the real challenge is not to get such a program implemented but rather to continue it. It’s only human tendency to start things in good spirit and fall back on them. So the question is, how do you keep your employees inspired and committed to continue on the path of well-being?
Experts believe that introducing employee incentives in the wellness programs, such as a health discount on the insurance premiums can really get them going! The incentives should be reserved for those employees who actively participate in the wellness program.

Managers also need to make sure that corporate policies are designed in a way so as to accommodate a standard workplace health program and let it run smoothly without putting any financial constraints on the organization.

The Takeaway
Everyone agrees that a well-executed wellness program can make the workforce healthier and happier, enhance overall productivity, build stronger bonds, increase job satisfaction and assure a long-term commitment.
Moreover, wellness initiatives taken at the organizational levels also check the costs of health insurance in terms of reduced incidences of insurance claims, fewer hospital admissions and checking of premium hikes. As per a recent survey, more than half of U.S. employers agree to the fact that wellness programs work as an effective tool to cut down company’s healthcare costs. Conclusively, a wellness program might seem a costly affair on the surface but considering the long-term benefits, it can end up saving you money.

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