The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Wellness Strategies
We all know about hustle. From the millennial who recently graduated college and is looking for a first job to the mother of two trying to balance domestic and work responsibilities to the baby boomer mentoring colleagues, we all work in a competitive market with increasing daily demands.
That hustle can take a physical toll. We check our phones constantly, working into the evening; we can’t make the time to buy fresh food to make for dinner; we hunch over our laptops and phones, creating poor posture. The sad reality is that too few modern workplaces are set up to promote healthy habits. Desk jobs involve long hours of sitting, and both the stress and excitement of a go-go-go lifestyle can lead to sleep disruption and some less-than-nutritious lunchtime choices.
This isn't just bad news for these tired, sedentary employees. It's also impacting businesses, who are seeing decreases in overall productivity and are pouring money into employee benefits in an effort to combat a bunch of preventable chronic issues like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Now that we've given you the bad news—unhealthy employees cost big bucks—here's the good news: an analysis by Sun Life Financial showed that companies that kick-started an effective wellness program reduced costs and experienced financial gains, including:
- 11% higher revenue per employee
- 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year
- 28% higher shareholder returns
- For every $1.00 spent on wellness programs,
- medical costs fall by about $3.27 and
- absenteeism costs fall about $2.731
Corporate wellness programs are a win-win in the workplace world, where healthier employees are happier, and happier employees are more productive, which leads to corporate financial health.
This correlation is backed by hard evidence: a 2013 Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness study showed that corporate wellness programs reduce absenteeism2, while a 2018 study by the McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program found that Canadian corporate wellness programs showed that, after 1 year, the benefits resulted in clinically important improvements in physical and mental health.3 It doesn't stop there: workplace health promotion programs can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And these impact financial measures important to employers, including health benefits utilization and worker productivity.
But the key word here is "well-designed." You can't just stock your break room with granola bars and call it a day—programs work when they're tailored to the needs and goals of certain groups and when they provide enough opportunities from employee engagement, input, and feedback.
We've done the heavy lifting to help provide a structured approach to implementing a corporate wellness strategy, and compiled this guide. It contains clear steps to addressing a number of factors that affect employee health.