Workplace wellness is “not just about kale shakes and working from home,” according to a new e-book on the subject by our fellow Z-named friend, Zenefits.
On the business side, the benefits of workplace wellness are numerous. This type of office health program can help improve your team’s productivity and morale, mitigate the number of sick days taken, and lower healthcare costs for the company as a whole. Not to mention, there’s the obvious perk of making your employees healthier for the long term — leading to a happier and more loyal staff.
Below are key learnings from the e-book by Zenefits, Your Ultimate Guide to Workplace Wellness Programs.
We encourage you to download the PDF and give it a read. And when you’re ready, start a dialogue at your company about creating — or improving — your workplace wellness program. Zeel’s dedicated Corporate Wellness Team would be more than happy to help make it a reality.
What is a workplace wellness program?
A workplace wellness program is an organized way of encouraging employees to be healthier. These programs go beyond traditional “must-have” benefits like health insurance and dental coverage. Corporate wellness is more about how to make the most of those benefits, plus offering additional perks that help your team stay informed and achieve their health and fitness goals together.
A workplace wellness program can include things like:
- Diabetes management
- Weight loss and nutrition information
- Preventative health screenings (e.g. blood pressure and cholesterol)
- Behavioral / lifestyle coaching (e.g. initiatives to quit smoking)
At Zeel, we’re big proponents of in-office chair massage, which is a beneficial wellness perk that’s easy to set up at companies of any size.
A health fair is also worth considering if you’re interested in offering all educational resources and information as a one-day event for every employee.
What’s in it for me (aside from being healthier)?
Some employees may need a little more of a carrot dangled in front of them in order to engage. Usually, this carrot is of the financial sort.
Some budget-friendly benefits identified by Zenefits include:
- Premium discounts on health insurance
- Gym membership reimbursement
- Cash rewards
For example, all Zeel employees have the opportunity to get reimbursed for their gym membership through the “Healthy Bonus” program. All an employee has to do is prove they went to the gym a certain number of times in a 6-month period (which averages out to 2-3 times per week).
What are the different types of workplace wellness programs?
According to the Zenefits guide, there are two main types of programs to promote workplace wellness.
1. Health-Contingent Wellness Programs – This can be seen as almost “gamified,” rewarding employees for specific health benchmarks that are measured by the employer. In a Health-Contingent Wellness Program, the rewards can be based either on healthy activities (e.g. going for a walk) or specific outcomes (e.g. achieving a weight-loss goal, or attaining certain results on biometric screenings).
2. Participatory Wellness Programs – The main difference here is that the program is optional. You are not required to join, and therefore you’re also not rewarded (or penalized) for specific health-based outcomes or achievements along the way. Instead, the employer can only reward employees for general participation in the program. For example, a Participatory Wellness Program could reward someone for attending a free seminar about smoking cessation, but not for their progress in quitting smoking.
How can I measure results?
In order to make workplace wellness a viable part of your company culture, you’ll need to keep track of the results. One way to do this is by sending around a regular employee survey, to determine if people feel healthier and more productive.
You can also track individual metrics on a per-employee basis using wearable technology such as FitBit, Apple Watch, and Ringly. This may be the best way to measure the activities in a Health-Contingent Wellness Program (think: rewarding employees for hitting 3,000 steps before lunch).
The e-book cites a study from Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) Research, projecting that “over 13 million wearable devices with embedded wireless connectivity will be incorporated into corporate wellness by 2018.” That’s a lot of step trackers.
Lastly, from a company standpoint, you can measure the long-term results of your workplace wellness program by checking how it affects healthcare costs and your bottom line.
Are employees taking fewer sick days? Are you covering fewer doctor visits for routine tests that are now offered on-site? Are employees staying with the company longer because they feel their health (and their family’s health) is being considered — thereby decreasing the cost of recruitment and employee turnover?
You’re on the right track to having a happier, healthier, and more productive team.
Zack is a writer, producer and marketer with 10+ years' experience in the advertising, nonprofit and tech startup industries. He is currently the Education Production Team Lead at Foundr Magazine, a web site for entrepreneurship education and was previously Content Manager at Zeel. Learn more about Zack on LinkedIn.