How do you know if your workplace wellness program is successful? Do you measure it by the number of sick days not taken, or the number of employees who have stopped smoking through a smoking cessation program?
As much as you may love your employees and care about their health, your job as a business owner is to make sure your decisions make financial sense. So how can you tell if your wellness program is saving your money or if it’s just money down the drain?
Corporate Wellness ROI
Two types of corporate wellness
Most employer-sponsored wellness programs fall into one of two camps: Lifestyle Management or Disease Management.
1. Lifestyle management
Lifestyle management programs deal with behaviors and conditions which can be immediately turned around:
- smoking cessation programs
- physical activity/gym memberships
- elimination of high-fat, low-nutrient snacks and beverages in the breakroom
These changes to a workplace can make an immediate impact on your employees’ health and are usually pretty inexpensive to start.
2. Disease management
Disease management programs address chronic illnesses and conditions such as
- and other chronic pain conditions
These health concerns have built up over time, due to lifestyle and genetic factors and can’t be easily fixed just by swapping out the soda for water in the breakroom -- though that’s a great place to start.
Disease management programs typically include healthcare professionals working with employees to create big changes and manage their health in a positive way. These programs and services can be more expensive than lifestyle management programs.
Workplace wellness physical benefits
The most immediate impact of wellness programs often comes from lifestyle management programs.
Replacing two cans of soda a day with water means saving about 102,200 calories per year, which is about 30 pounds of potential weight loss.
Taking the stairs over the elevator will add steps to your days, and if you wear a pedometer (or have an app), you can track how many extra miles of exercise you’re naturally building into your day.
Health + productivity = profit
It’s no secret that healthier employees are more productive employees. And more productivity means a boost in your bottom line.
With the workplace being a leading cause of stress for almost half the US working population, it’s imperative that employers find a way to let their workers de-stress in order to perform better.
So what about the bottom line? Do employer provided health programs make financial sense?
A study by the US Departments of Labor, and Health and Human Services concludes that because wellness programs are so diverse, it isn’t possible to tell on a large scale what kind of financial impact they have, for better or worse. But there are some numbers from smaller studies that are encouraging.
Research from the Wellness Council of America shows that for every dollar spent in a wellness program, a savings of $5.81 is realized. <-- Tweet this.
These programs also reduce sick leave absenteeism by about 26%. One study observed that while more employees participated in lifestyle management programs (87%) than disease management programs (13%), the vast majority of savings came from the disease management programs.
Wellness programs make cents
Not only do employer-backed wellness programs enhance office morale, reduce employee stress, and improve productivity, but they make financial sense as well.
And because we’re spending about a third of our lives working, wellness programs can have a big impact on the overall quality of life for the average working American.