Wellness Programs: What Do Workers Think?

 

Even as the dust of healthcare reform settles, it seems there is more disagreement than consensus. But there are some things most Americans agree about, and workplace wellness programs are among them. According to a survey of working Americans conducted recently by Workplace Options in conjunction with Public Policy Polling, the majority of respondents believe them to be a good idea. The full survey results are available at www.workplaceoptions.com/polls.asp.

Three-fourths of those asked whether employers should offer workplace wellness programs in an effort to improve their employees' health answered "Yes," according to the survey. In addition, more respondents view employer incentives for wellness program participation as a reward than as a punishment: 59% agree that employer incentives for health and wellness are a reward for being fit, while about 20% see them as a penalty for being unfit.

Healthcare costs remain on the minds of most people, even with recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law on March 23, 2010. More than two-thirds of survey respondents (69%) said they would be more likely to use employer-sponsored wellness programs if their share of healthcare premiums could be reduced by doing so.

Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options, believes businesses have the opportunity to reap a return on investments made in employee health and wellness. "From a business standpoint, such initiatives are an investment in your greatest asset-your employees-and the return on your investment is likely to make a difference in both morale and the bottom line," he said.

And with so many programs possible, ranging from free to expensive, most companies can participate in employee wellness. "Programs that enlist the help of wellness coaches, offer online sessions for weight management or smoking cessation, or on-site health screenings can make a huge impact on the well-being of employees," said Alan King, COO of Workplace Options.

"Healthy employees are less likely to miss work due to illness, and increasing morale can lead to increased productivity - a win/win for employees and the company."

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