What makes a good work wellness program?


Most employers understand that their workers’ health can impact job performance. This may be why many organizations offer wellness programs to help employees remain healthy and productive. But do these programs really work?

Components of a Workplace Wellness Program

To start a wellness program, employers may hire an outside company that performs health risk assessments to evaluate their workers’ physical and mental health. Using this information, the company often creates programs for weight management, fitness, immunizations, lifestyle coaching, stress relief, nutrition education and more.

Potential Drawbacks of Wellness Programs

While employer-sponsored wellness programs are likely well-intentioned, they can have drawbacks. It’s possible some programs are created merely for show or to lower employer costs.

What’s more, workers may feel wellness plans violate their privacy or view them as a way for employers to make up for overly demanding jobs. Additionally, some programs may not be beneficial and could even make some people feel discriminated against — particularly if they fear employer retaliation for not using the programs offered. Measurements of employee wellness programs’ success may not be accurate.

Organizations should also be conscientious and open about disability accommodations in an effort to include all employees.

Positive Features of Wellness Programs

Still, workplace wellness programs can benefit employees, especially if they’re flexible, voluntary and well developed. For example, including a number of free mental health counseling sessions per year in employee benefits packages can make it easier for workers to get confidential support with both personal and professional problems.

Certainly, workplace wellness programs can provide the opportunity to improve employee health, but they will likely have the greatest impact if the company also offers other meaningful and well-planned benefits such as generous time off, flexible hours and paid parental leave.

If you don’t have the life or health insurance you need through work, reach out to us today. We’re always here to help.

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