Copyright (c) 2008 Konstantin Koss
Who needs wellness programs? If you work in an office or a jobsite or are a member of an organization who spends a considerable amount of time at work, you will benefit from a well-designed worker wellness program. Employees spend a minimum of about 200 hours a month at work – a considerable amount of time.
Furthermore, distractions, stress, and the pressures of the job itself can take its toll on the worker, which makes it important that a wellness program is implemented. Today, all across America, Canada, Europe and Asia, top corporate wellness programs are being used to help improve employee conditions at work and reduce the cost of worker healthcare.
Some of the top wellness programs currently in use today include:
1. Health Risk Assessments or HRAs
Health Risk Assessment is a top corporate wellness program currently in use globally. Organizations that implement it determine the safety and health concerns of workers by the assessment of appropriateness of the facilities and equipment against the needs of the employees.
It can, for example, guide the organization into determining how the air quality within an office room affects the users and then help the assessment team to come up with the measures necessary to correct the problem. An HRA can also evaluate the level of exposure workers have to certain hazardous or dangerous materials and practices.
This isn’t always practiced in every country since there are regions where government sponsored immunization shots are available. However, it has also become an important component of the top worker wellness programs in many organizations in North America.
Immunization shots, such as those used to combat flu, for example, are offered to workers for free.
3. Employee Assistance Programs or EAPs
Employee Assistance Programs consist of a wide variety of services. It can range from providing educational resources to employees regarding health issues to sponsoring health services and medical care. In many companies, medical and insurance have also become a staple part of their benefits system.
4. In-house diet and nutrition drives
This is another wellness program that organizations use, particularly those that offer in-house commissary or cafeteria services. Instead of serving richer, high-calorie fare, cafeterias offer options for a healthier diet, usually in the form of low-calorie foods and sugar substitutes.
5. In-house wellness newsletter and campaign drives
One of the top wellness programs that organizations can implement is a self-powered tool using a newsletter to promote wellness, coupled with a visible campaign. The campaign may be done periodically and focus on a specific topic, such as smoking hazards, cancer, stress, carpal tunnel syndrome, safety in the workplace, etc.
The newsletter in itself can be an effective means to deliver information to employees or members of an organization but it is far from perfect. Some employees, for example, may not read the newsletter in its entirety or even pay attention to it. If the issues outlined in the newsletter are promoted through an active and highly visible campaign, it will be easier to maximize positive results.
6. Exercise and physical activity drives
Another top wellness program for organizations is one that involves physical activities. Companies often sponsor exercise-related events such as marathons and company sports programs to encourage employees to remain fit or lose excess weight. In mid- to large-sized organizations, companies may even pay for gym memberships or in-house exercise facilities.
7. Incentive rewards
Some of the top wellness programs implemented by companies involve incentive rewards. This involves company-sponsored programs that reward employees for achieving specific wellness goals. Participation in health campaigns and signing up for wellness programs are two of the most commonly rewarded schemes. Rewards can range from special recognitions to over time acquired points (for bigger rewards) to specific gifts. In a few cases, cash may also be used.
However, incentive systems have had mixed reactions and levels of success. But it continues to be one of the top choices among companies who are willing to modify it in order to fit their unique needs.
8. Peer Pressure
In many organizations, companies take advantage of peer pressure in order to encourage workers to participate in wellness programs. This is currently one of the favorite worker wellness programs currently in use today and growing in popularity. Peer pressure is often leveraged to help promote competitions referring to workplace wellness and to persuade employees to be active in company-sponsored health fairs.