Wellness Programs are the New Office Trend

April 30, 2014

You may have trouble finding the motivation to eat right, exercise and move throughout your day. But now employers are stepping in to change the way employees think about health. Large companies are starting to expand and implement health and wellness programs for their employees.

Wellness programs have become a popular solution for employers looking to avoid high medical coverage and keep workers in business. Instead of offering a gym membership or sending encouraging memos, employers are now making even greater efforts toward disease prevention.

Gift cards and other incentives are given to employees who agree to get a physical assessment and make plans to improve the state of their current health. Some companies offer rewards for employees who set and meet specific goals, like improving their blood pressure by so many points.

Health and wellness programs started to receive occasional backlash from employees who felt an invasion of privacy, or from employees who were penalized for not participating. To resolve the issue, companies hired outside businesses to create personal surveys or run the wellness program to ensure privacy protection.

The outside company provides a general overview of the entire office’s health status, like a third of employees have high blood pressure. Personal details of individuals are not shared thus avoiding privacy concerns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, today almost 90 percent of employers offer wellness incentives. Beyond encouraging better health practices outside of the office, employers are changing the way offices function. Instead of vending machines with unhealthy snacks and processed food, employers are bringing in healthier choices for employees. And food court meals are being replaced with nutritious options.

However, wellness programs and incentives may be without visible results unless companies change the way employees work during the day. Countless studies prove that a sedentary lifestyle is directly linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The risk remains even if employees workout at the gym for an hour every day.

Companies have noticed the growing trends of sedentary behavior and how it affects employee wellness and even the number of sick days taken. Now employers are investing in alternative workstations like adjustable desks that encourage more movement and allow employees to refrain from sitting for long periods.

Along with the initial wellness programs, employers have found ways to keep employees moving while at work. One option is creating incentives for employees who stand for so many minutes every hour, or if an employee uses a treadmill adjustable desk, offering a reward once so many miles are completed.

Adjustable desks are an easy way to improve employee health to keep them at the office and help them stay active. According to several studies, the risk of disease is significantly reduced if a person makes small movements throughout the day. This includes switching from sitting to standing. It even has the power to extend your lifespan.

Does your company offer incentives and rewards if you make an effort to improve your health? How have you seen your workplace change once these programs are in place?

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