Three years ago, as a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, I would not have guessed that my full time job would revolve around work-site wellness programs. I also would not have guessed how rewarding it is!
When it comes to work-site wellness programs employers want to know: “What will a wellness program do for my business?” The Return on Investment (ROI) data is coming in:
“A 2002 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study noted that companies with physical activity programs for employees have reduced health care costs by 20 percent to 55 percent, reduced short-term sick leave by up to 32 percent and increased productivity by up to 52 percent.”
“According to an article published on Business Insurance April 27, 2009: Poor health among U.S. workers costs employers much more than many realize in reduced productivity, according to a multi-year study of 10 employers and more than 150,000 workers.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that presenteeism–when employees are present at their jobs but unable to perform at full capacity–creates a greater drain on company productivity than employee absence, a finding that may come as a surprise to many employers, researchers say.
For every dollar spent on medical costs and pharmaceuticals, there is $2.30 of health-related productivity losses due to absenteeism and presenteeism, according to the study. For certain conditions, such as anxiety, employers lose as much as $20 in productivityfor every dollar they spend on medical care and pharmaceuticals.
The study, which researchers said is one of the largest to date on the subject, found that when medical and prescription drug costs are considered alone, the top five conditions driving employer health care costs are cancer, back/neck pain, coronary heart disease, chronic pain and high cholesterol.”
These cost-savings are achieved when a culture of wellness and a focus on preventive care for employees (not sick care) is emphasized. Successful worksite wellness programs understand this and use this to drive their wellness initiatives.
Whether you are just starting to implement wellness initiatives at your worksite or you have had them in place for some time now, consider conducting a needs assessment survey. The results can help you achieve maximum ROI by guiding your decisions for wellness programming.
What a difference a few years has made. A lot has changed in the field of worksite wellness since three years ago, and I have no doubt the trend is going to continue. Now is the time to drive your efforts forward.