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How Effective are Employee Wellness Programs?

Do employee wellness programs actually work? Let's dive into wellness programs and how they save money and improve employee morale.

Employee Wellness programs encourage preventative medicine with health and wellness education to keep employees healthy and reduce medical costs. Companies consider them to be a way to improve employees’ health and productivity levels at work. In 1979, Johnson & Johnson was the first company to launch an employee wellness program, which led to others jumping on board. In 2020, 81% of companies globally offered a workplace wellness program.

From starting as a workplace perk, they are now commonly a part of a company’s benefits package. A robust package includes fitness classes, health screenings, nutritional information, and educational seminars on habits such as reducing alcohol intake and smoking.

First, we’ll examine the benefits of these programs. Then, we’ll assess whether they fulfill their promises.

Benefits of wellness programs

Employees celebrating and being productive
  • Improved health for workers: Wellness programs offer employees a wide array of physical and mental health options. Employees can access gym classes or even psychologist sessions, which help them stay active and mentally healthy. This lowers the risk of burnout at work. This is especially important because Workplace stress is a significant concern for companies.
  • These programs are an excellent way to teach employees how to handle stress more effectively.
  • Improved healthy habits: Improving your health doesn’t happen overnight. Wellness programs often encourage behaviour changes such as increasing physical activity, improving sleep, and reducing alcohol intake. These programs encourage maintaining good habits rather than just one-off activities. Regular healthy activities have reduced health risks and the chances of developing chronic diseases.
  • Reduced healthcare costs: You can reduce your company’s healthcare costs through a wellness program. Workers who engage in physical activity and lead a healthy lifestyle will be less stressed and more beneficial. This means fewer sick days taken and, as a result, less expenditure on sick pay.
  • Improved productivity: When employees are in good health, they tend to be more productive at work. They require fewer sick days or leave, among other benefits. Preventative healthcare is often more effective than addressing issues after they’ve already arisen.

So, do employee wellness programs work?

Decreasing health costs:

Despite it being one of the main reasons behind having an employee wellness program. There is little research that demonstrates they decrease company health costs. It is highly dependent on the individual program and how thorough they are.

However, comprehensive programs do see savings in healthcare costs for a business. Health Affairs conducted 22 studies that compare wellness programs to related healthcare costs. On average, a program yields a 3.27 Return On Investment, which means that for each dollar spent on the program, one can save $3.27 in healthcare costs.

Improving productivity:

Employee Wellness Programs include Yoga and Dance

Low productivity at work costs companies a lot of money.

  • Costs related to low productivity are around 2 to 3 times larger than healthcare costs. A person’s job specifically can cause low productivity because of various factors such as distractions or workplace bullying.
  • However, a person’s health and daily habits will also impact their productivity levels. Employees who smoke, have inadequate diets and don’t exercise regularly can substantially affect their productivity.
  • These unhealthy habits may lead to increased health risks down the line, too.

Wellness programs that tackle these unhealthy habits will lead to increased productivity. Employees are more likely to feel energized and engaged in work when leading a healthy lifestyle. A recent study found that employees who participated in wellness programs experienced a 5% increase in average productivity. This is equivalent to one extra day of monthly productive work per employee.

Reducing Absenteeism:

Wellness programs have a demonstrated impact on reducing absenteeism at work. This is because employees who exhibit healthy behaviours and experience lower stress levels tend to have fewer instances of absenteeism.

Wellness programs emphasizing changing health habits can significantly impact employees’ attendance at work, similar to the earlier point. Employees who uphold a healthy work-life balance, stay motivated, and maintain high morale tend to have significantly fewer absences from work. To ensure your program’s success in this regard, it must be robust enough to address health habits effectively. Doing so guarantees some rewards for your efforts in promoting a healthier and more productive workplace.

Improving Employee Retention:

Job listings often advertise Employee Wellness programs as part of a company’s overall benefits package. There isn’t much research that proves that they directly impact an organization’s recruitment and employee retention.

There are many other reasons why people choose to join and stay at a company. One of these is a competitive benefits package. Companies will compete with one another with their benefits to attract the best talent. If your company provides an attractive program with a comprehensive benefits package, it can influence candidates’ desire to join your business.

Additionally, it can help you retain your current employees. Employees may be reluctant to leave a generous benefits package for another company. Your wellness program communicates your concern for your employees. It demonstrates your desire for their happiness and well-being at work, boosting morale.

Employee Wellness Programs and Efficient Break Management

Employee wellness programs play a vital role in promoting employees’ physical and mental health while simultaneously enhancing workplace productivity. Among the critical aspects of these programs is ensuring that employees have ample opportunities to take meal breaks and can easily track their breaks. Meal breaks are crucial for recharging the body and the mind, improving overall well-being and focus. It’s essential to make these breaks as accessible and streamlined as possible for employees.

Celayix’s break tracking feature offers a valuable solution to this challenge. With this feature, employees can effortlessly record their meal breaks and ensure they receive the necessary downtime, which is essential for their health and productivity. By providing employees with the tools to manage their breaks efficiently, Celayix promotes a healthy work environment.

Self-Scheduling for Enhanced Wellness

In addition to break management, self-scheduling is another feature that can significantly contribute to employee wellness. Employees with a degree of control over their work schedules are better equipped to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Self-scheduling empowers employees to align their work hours with their personal lives, reducing stress and increasing overall job satisfaction.

Celayix’s self-scheduling feature facilitates this balance, allowing employees to have a say in their schedules. This not only contributes to their well-being but also enhances morale and motivation.

Feedback and Flexibility for Improved Productivity

Employee wellness programs can further evolve to incorporate feedback mechanisms that enable employees to voice their needs and concerns regarding their schedules. Employers can make adjustments to fit their productivity patterns by actively involving employees in the scheduling process. The result is a workplace that not only values the well-being of its employees but also maximizes their efficiency.

Incorporating feedback and adapting schedules to better suit employees’ needs is integral to fostering a well-being culture. Celayix’s scheduling software can play a pivotal role in this process by facilitating communication between employers and employees. This ensures that we value everyone’s input and optimize schedules to benefit both the workforce and the company’s productivity.

Some final thoughts…

So, we have seen employee wellness programs impact productivity levels at work and increase healthy habits for many employees. However, it is very dependent on the program itself.

You should ensure that your employee wellness program effectively addresses the right priorities and actively fosters lasting healthy habits among your employees. Just having a wellness program in place won’t have a significant impact. Continuous evaluation is necessary, and you should consider it a competitive component of your benefits plan.

Written by Nippun Arora

Written by Nippun Arora

Nippun is a Marketing Specialist, primarily creating content and email marketing. He has been working with Celayix for over 2 years.

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