The Business Case for Work Site Wellness Programs
The costs of health care have been rising at an alarming rate in recent years. This has become a central issue of concern to the business community. The centrality of concern for employee’s health is logical. Businesses are increasingly aware that the health of their employees can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Poor health can lead to absenteeism, lost productivity, and higher insurance costs. Conversely, good health can lead to increased productivity and lower health care costs. For these reasons, many businesses have implemented Work Site Wellness Programs (WWPs).
Work Site Wellness Programs are defined as “employee health promotion programs that are designed to support healthy lifestyle choices and improve employee health” (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). These programs typically involve offering employees information and resources on how to live a healthier lifestyle, as well as opportunities to participate in activities that promote wellness. WWPs can be implemented in a variety of ways, but all share the common goal of improving the health of employees and, as a result, the bottom line of the company.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the efficacy of WWPs. A number of studies have shown that these programs can lead to improvements in health outcomes, including reductions in absenteeism, presenteeism (i.e., employees coming to work but not being productive because of poor health), and health care costs (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). In addition, WWPs have been shown to improve employee morale and retention rates (Boutwell & Gage, 2009). Given the numerous benefits of WWPs, it is not surprising that they are becoming increasingly popular in the business world.
2. The Business Case for Work Site Wellness Programs:
There are a number of reasons why businesses should implement WWPs. As mentioned previously, these programs can lead to improvements in health outcomes and productivity, as well as reductions in healthcare costs. In addition, WWPs can help businesses attract and retain employees. In today’s competitive labor market, employers need to offer workers more than just a paycheck; they need to offer them a package of benefits that meets their needs and helps them lead a healthy lifestyle. By offering WWPs, businesses can show their employees that they are committed to their wellbeing.
Another reason to implement WWPs is that they can help businesses complies with laws and regulations related to employee health and safety. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees (OSHA, n.d.). This includes ensuring that there are no hazards present that could potentially cause injury or illness. If an employer fails to comply with this regulation, they could be subject to hefty fines. Implementing a WWP is one way to help ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.
3. The Productivity Management Model:
The productivity management model is a framework that can be used to guide the implementation of WWPs in the workplace (Boutwell & Gage, 2009). This model has four key components:
• Establishing goals and objectives: The first step in implementing a WWP is to establish goals and objectives for the program. What does the company hope to achieve by implementing this program? How will success be measured?
• Designing the program: Once the goals and objectives have been established, the next step is to design the program. What type of activities will be offered? What resources will be provided?
• Implementing the program: The next step is to implement the program in the workplace. This involves ensuring that employees are aware of the program and have the opportunity to participate.
• Evaluating the program: Finally, it is important to evaluate the program to ensure that it is achieving its goals. Are employees participating? Are there any improvements in health outcomes or productivity?
4. Summary and Conclusion:
The costs of health care have been rising at an alarming rate in recent years, making it a central issue of concern for businesses. Work site wellness programs (WWPs) have been shown to be an effective way to improve employee health and reduce health care costs. WWPs can also lead to increased productivity and morale, as well as improved employee retention rates. Given the numerous benefits of these programs, businesses should give serious consideration to implementing them in the workplace.