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Img health and wellness Health And Wellness Programs That Employers Are Offering To Their Employees As Employment Incentives
Rather than just offering health insurance, many employers are realizing they can cut company healthcare  program costs, reduce costly sick days, cut worker’s compensation payouts and lower workplace injuries by investing in wellness programs for workers. The practice is becoming a bargaining chip when it comes to hiring the best labor; many executives and frontline workers actually crave health and wellness incentives, gravitating toward companies who offer them as benefits. While health and wellness incentives are costly to roll out and sustain, many corporate heads feel having a healthier workforce is worth it.

Here are the most popular types of wellness programs offered by companies large and small.

1. Company Gyms/On-site Exercise Classes

If space is available, many corporate employers are installing gyms at the office. Workers use the gyms in the morning before starting the work day, during lunch hour and after work. Often fitness trainers are assigned to be available to employees through the day.  For employees, the boon is that they don’t have to worry about traveling to the gym after work, paying club fees or trying to squeeze in time for a workout. Merging and gym and the job on the same property is more convenient, helping employees stick to their fitness goals. Plus, they can work out with their workmates. Employers, meanwhile, appreciate how exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can revive workers for the second part of the work day, restoring stamina and focus. Studies show exercise is a better to boost brain activity then those sugar-laden snacks, energy bars and caffeine drinks which workers rely on when feeling mentally and physically fatigued.

Even small sites without space or money for an actual gym, can institute regular walking programs/classes while employees get together and walk after lunch inside the company building or outside on the grounds.

2. Regular Onsite Clinics and Health Fairs

Many companies focus on preventative clinics and fairs that provide information through visiting experts as well as diagnostic tests. Companies might offer yearly flu shot clinics, cancer screening or simply overall health exams.  Weight loss clinics, often with Weight Watchers representatives, are common at some jobs.

Here are some other common services offered through company health clinics, according to the American Medical Association:

  • Travel medications for workers taking business trips across the globes
  • Immunizations for families and their children.
  • Education on general preventative care.
  • Occupational Therapy (to help workers who sit for long periods or constantly use the computer)
  • Maternity healthy care tips
  • Smoking cessation classes.

3. Prize Programs for Improved Health

For employers who can’t afford to treat workers to an on-site gym, prizes are a great incentive to reward workers for losing weight or adopting healthier habits on their own.  Bosses often decide to pay a bonus to those who drop pounds or give up cigarettes and cigars.  Other employers are more extravagant, rewarding workers with vacations to exotic locales, golf clubs, expensive bikes or computer tablets.

To keep track of workers’ progress, most employers install software on the company’s computer that can be accessed by the employees at home or at work. Using these interactive online portals, workers update the status of their weight or habit change and employers can compare data, seeing which employees are doing the best and setting the best examples. Those employees may reap the biggest rewards.

Some companies use terms of the health insurance policy itself as a reward; they reward employees who succeed in losing weight or otherwise becoming healthier by  offering to pay the employee’s share of health premiums.  This could save the employee a thousand dollars or more over the course of a year.  Conversely, some employees are also penalizing those who shun company wellness initiatives, raising those employees’ premiums.

Clearly any prize, whether monetary or simply time off, can help and motivate employees. Meanwhile prizes are cheaper for the employers than being responsible for running elaborate onsite classes, gym time or fairs.

4.  Healthy Food onsite or Discounts and Coupons for Healthy Food at the Store

Many Fortune 500 companies offer workers state-of-art cafeterias where they can partake of heart-healthy foods. Forget the pizza, potato chip and vending machines with the stale sandwiches. These cafeterias have real cooks who provide lean meats, vegetables and sometimes freshly baked breads and treats. Spring water and green tea are also typical staples. For smaller companies, management might set up partnerships with local stores, farms or co-ops where these places agree to give the company’s workers discounts and coupons on healthy items such as produce.

Often companies might still keep some junk food on site for employees, but will charge them extra money or give out penalties to those who indulge.

5.  Healthy Freebies.  

The least employees do in some cases is contributing free tools to help employees reach health goals. Some employers give out pedometers so employees can be inspired to walk and count their steps.  Others give out battery-operated blood pressure monitors that workers can take home and use.  Work-out clothes with company slogans have become popular, as have water bottles that can be taken to the gym or used on bike rides.  Some companies offer low-cost fitness tools, such as jump ropes and workout DVDs.

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Written by Mike Walters. Mike Walters is a writer for Engagement Health, LLC.  When Mike isn’t busy blogging or reviewing employee wellness plans, he does his best to find free time in which to spend with his family and friends.


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