Workplace Wellness: What It Is And Why It’s Important To All Of Us
Post written by Jacob Wayman, Project Manager, Corporate Medicine & Wellness Division, KCIM
As an employer or employee you may already be aware that ‘Wellness’ is the new buzz word of the health care industry and, more importantly, the workplace. But what exactly is Wellness? And how can we incorporate it in the workplace?
By definition Workplace Wellness is:
“…an organized, employer-sponsored program that is designed to support employees as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.”
Why is Workplace Wellness important to an organization?
Studies have shown that nearly 50% of an organization’s profits are consumed by employee health care costs and a ‘high risk’ employee can cost an organization almost $3,000 more per year than their ‘low risk’ colleagues. In addition, ‘high risk’ employees are shown to be 18% less productive, which adds up to 7 hours per week or 2 months per year in lost productivity.
Why is Workplace Wellness important to employees?
Every employee has some sort of health risk to varying degrees, whether it is unhealthy eating, lack of exercise or sleep, drinking, smoking, or even something genetic. By working with an employer who promotes health and wellness, not only will you be more able to complete your daily job responsibilities, but you will have more energy to give to your family and friends after your workday is complete.
Workplace Wellness programs can help employees attain and maintain a healthier lifestyle, even if it is something as simple as learning how to reduce stress and/or muscle strain while you are on the job.
Why should employers pursue Workplace Wellness?
Studies have shown that employers spend around $8,000 annually on each employee’s medical care, which includes medical insurance, disability, and worker’s compensation.
For employers who seek out and implement a Workplace Wellness program, they find that, on average, medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absentee days fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.
Other studies have shown that Workplace Wellness programs can reduce sick leave by 28%, medical costs by 26%, and 30% among worker’s compensation claims.
While changing behavior is solely on employees, employers have a tremendous opportunity to help their employees see the value of adopting healthier behaviors so that they can live healthier lives. An employer’s culture sets the tone for its employees and a supportive work environment, where managers reinforce a sound wellness strategy and keep employees motivated and engaged.
Workplace Wellness programs can be used to drive and reinforce healthy behaviors, bringing benefits to the employer, the employee, and to the community. In the end, workplace wellness programs should be viewed as an investment in the most important asset any organization has…its employees. Studies continually show that employees are more likely to perform well when they are in optimal health.
Additional benefits from implementing workplace wellness include:
- Attracting talented workers
- Reducing absenteeism
- Improving on-the-job utilization
- Improving employee morale
- Reducing turnover
- Improved disease management
In conclusion, strengthening the organization’s culture, employee loyalty, and decreasing overall health care costs are the benefits of having a wellness program integrated into the overall business strategy.
For more information regarding Workplace Wellness and how it can benefit your organization, please feel contact Jacob Wayman with Kansas City Internal Medicine’s Corporate Medicine and Wellness Division at 913-319-7308.