By Jim Bea Sampaga
For big companies such as Google and Microsoft, workplace wellness programs are a must. Google offers on-campus bikes, biking lanes, nap pods and free fitness classes for employees. While Microsoft prioritizes health with free health screening, counseling and healthy dining options for employees.
In the last decade, workplace wellness was seen as a trendy add-on for large companies. However, valuing employees’ health and wellness is now seen as a necessary factor for employment and overall company success.
Workplace wellness programs consist of workplace health promotion, activity or organizational policy that supports healthy behavior in the workplace which improves health outcomes of employees.
“Work-life balance now consists much more of work-life integration than ever before,” said Terri Dietz, owner and founder of WYAO Hawaii that provides corporate wellness programs to their partner companies.
“The theory underpinning workplace wellness initiatives is simple: healthy [and] happy workers [result in] greater productivity, longevity and overall company success.”
According to a 2014 report from Harvard Business School, American-based companies with workplace wellness initiatives saw a $3.27 decrease in medical expenses for every dollar spent on wellness programs. Additionally, employee absenteeism expenses fell by $2.73.
Workplace wellness programs also boost productivity, reduce stress and increase overall employee engagement and communication, according to German psychologist Sabine Sonnentag.
These programs also go beyond health and physical fitness programs. Wellness programs can be educational workshops, cooking classes, rest pods, greater work flexibility, mentorship and even corporate housing.
“I’ve witnessed significant changes to company culture, employee satisfaction and overall company success due to leadership’s commitment to greater workplace wellness,” Dietz said.
Workplace wellness programs create a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Employees feel more connected at work and learn to make healthier choices in their personal lives, leading to increased employee longevity, less sick days, and lower health insurance costs for the employer. In the long run, this results in a stronger and successful company.