Cheap Wellness Options That Save Companies Money

Wellness programs are an investment in long term health and future medical costs.
Wellness programs are an investment in long term health and future medical costs. | Source

Overview

Wellness programs are intended to improve the health of employees.

Good wellness programs improve employee health, decrease corporate health insurance costs, reduce sick leave and time off for doctor's appointments and decrease the odds of employees using short term disability insurance or early retirement due to health problems.

What are some of the cheapest, effective wellness programs that save companies money?

Smoking Cessation Programs

Smokers who stop smoking see a significant health benefit within months of quitting. The company pays dramatically less for health insurance for those who quit smoking. Smokers see their health improve, especially when respiratory viruses spread. The company gains more productive employees with better attendance and fewer smoking breaks. Smoking cessation programs also reduce the risk of smokers accidentally causing fires in the workplace.

Subsidized Weight Loss Programs

When companies attempt to implement weight loss programs, the intent is honorable. Employees who lose weight and keep it off see their risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and knee joint replacement drop. Their employers also see a long term health insurance rate drop as the health of the employee insurance pool increases.

However, weight loss programs in the work place can violate employee privacy. Weighing employees at work can result in public humiliation of those trying to lose weight. Well intentioned employees may offer endless criticism and suggestions of weight loss and exercise to those who are trying to lose weight. Poorly run company programs cost money without significant cost savings. Successful weight loss programs within a company may not be replicable across other sites.

A weight loss wellness program companies can implement is a partial subsidy for joining existing weight loss programs. This avoids the cost of setting up a weight loss program employees do not use. It allows any employee to use a weight loss program of their choice such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers.

Subsidized weight loss programs also demand an investment by employees to gain the fiscal benefit. This increases the odds that they will stick with the program instead of signing up for free and dropping out shortly thereafter. Employees joining existing weight loss programs with a successful track record for their clients also have greater odds of actually losing the weight.

Exercise Clubs at Work

Wellness programs often offer employees a paid gym membership or partial reimbursement of paid gym memberships. These benefits may be used by employees, but they tend to be used by those who already use the gym, not bring new employees to an exercise regimen. Those who want to exercise can face discrimination at the gym for not being very fit or not have an eligible exercise facility nearby.

A better wellness program that can save companies money is to encourage the formation of exercise clubs. These exercise clubs can be made up of groups of employees who take walks on recommended paths near the workplace on their lunch break or after work. Employees can also create their own meet ups at the work place to work out together after work.

The company does not have pay gym memberships for gym rats or set up a gym on site. The company also avoids the time commitment and possible embarrassment of demanding group calisthenics.

Putting in paved sidewalks and walking paths around the company campus and encouraging employees to use them is another option.

AA Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous or AA can help bring those who struggling with alcoholism to sobriety. A workplace that allows AA to meet on its campus offers its employees a convenient way to get help while providing an opportunity to counter the drinks after work culture that can wreak havoc in someone’s plans to get clean.

If allowing Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar program onto the corporate campus prevents one serious alcohol related wreck or leads to recovery of one employee, the minor inconvenience of offering space and time has been repaid.

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