What Is an Employee Wellness Program?
Employee wellness programs or employee wellbeing programs can be referred to as a collection of initiatives that an organization offers to promote healthy lifestyles among its employees. Some establishments may also extend these facilities to the spouses and dependents of the employees. To help employees improve their wellbeing, companies can implement various corporate wellness programs and initiatives, such as financial counseling, fitness classes, flexible work schedules, gym reimbursement, health education and coaching, Health Risk Assessment (HRA), on-site/near-site clinics, sports activities, stress management, telemedicine, wellness challenges, among others. As each company has its own way of conducting these initiatives, they can choose the best workplace wellness programs according to their employees’ needs. Some of these corporate wellness programs may or may not be beneficial to all employees, but they are sure to promote employee wellness at your workplace.
Importance of Healthy Employees
Employees are one of the most important assets of any company. Healthy workers help create an efficient workplace as they will be less prone to have chronic diseases and illnesses, thereby taking lesser sick leaves. This helps increase productivity and profits for the company. Not only that but taking care of employees’ mental and physical health can also benefit your business in multiple ways. An employee who is mentally and physically healthy will be optimistic, creative, and motivated to stay in the organization. Companies that take care of the wellbeing of their employees by conducting employee wellness programs might have increased morale and job satisfaction. Such workplace wellness programs also help build a strong and positive work culture among colleagues and their supervisors.
Ways to Create an Effective Workplace Wellness Program
Workplace wellness programs are growing in popularity with good reason. Aiding your employees in their efforts to become healthier is a clear win for both parties. According to Cigna’s 360° Well-Being Survey, people in the UAE place less importance on workplace wellness programs, however almost 70% see it as an important factor when deciding whether to leave the existing company for a new employer.
- Start with a needs assessment: Evaluate the current health risks your employees face by conducting health risks appraisals at the beginning of each year, and then designing program interventions around the most predominant risk areas.
- Ensure a sound working environment is in place: Wellness programs will not be effective if they are added to a toxic work environment where employees are stressed, overworked, and underappreciated - so ensure that your work culture is one that pays attention to employee satisfaction. 1
- Make sure you’re an effective role model: In order to motivate your employees to accept health and wellness at work, you too need to stand as an advocate for wellness. Commitment from leadership at all levels of the organization is essential to ensure the wellness program will be adopted by all.2
 Fortune. “5 hallmarks of successful corporate wellness programs” http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/corporate-wellness/ Accessed 4 March 2018
 Research reveals wellness program best practices (2017) https://www.sfmic.com/successful-workplace-wellness-program-best-practices/ Accessed 4 March 2018