What are the benefits to employees?
- Weight reduction
- Improved physical fitness
- Increased stamina
- Lower levels of stress
- Increased well-being, self-image, and self-esteem
What are the benefits to employers?
- Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy employees
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Decreased rates of illness and injuries
- Reduced employee absenteeism
- Improved employee relations and morale
- Increased productivity
What is a workplace wellness program?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified five elements that comprise a comprehensive workplace health promotion program:
- Health education – Including skill development, lifestyle behavior change, information dissemination, and awareness building tailored to employees’ interests and needs.
- Supportive social and physical environments – This references an organization’s expectations regarding healthy behaviors as well as implementation of policies that promote health and reduce risk of disease.
- Onsite health screening programs – Ideally linked to medical care to ensure follow-up and appropriate treatment as necessary.
- Linkage to related programs – Such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) and programs to help employees balance work and family.
- Integration into the organization.
Many employers, and especially small to mid-sized firms, may find it difficult—or impossible—to launch a comprehensive workplace health promotion program all at once. That’s okay. Employers can start with just one or two of the five components that comprise a comprehensive program. It is most important just to start.
Data from the National Worksite Health Promotion Survey shows that over 90% of surveyed workplaces offer at least one health promotion activity that can serve as a foundation for future efforts. The challenge, and the opportunity, is to use that foundation to work towards eventually building a comprehensive program.
Overall, employers are encouraged to offer ongoing activities, rather than one-time events. A single, isolated health education activity does not constitute a comprehensive workplace health promotion program, but, as more elements are included, the program is more likely to achieve organizational goals, such as improving productivity or enhancing a firm’s image.
Where can I get free resources to start my own workplace wellness program?
- Visit the CDC's Workplace Health Initiatives for the most comprehensive and evidence-based information on workplace wellness, including free toolkits, cost calculators, assessment forms, funding opportunities, and sample policies.
- Download the Walking Program Toolkit.
- The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) has developed a Healthy Meeting Toolkit. Organizations can use the toolkit for guidance on key components of a healthy meeting and resources to help make hosting healthy meetings easier.
GetHealthy@washoecounty.gov | 775-328-6160
Last modified on 09/22/2021