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The term corporate wellness refers to the implementation of specific health-oriented programs as an extension of benefits to promote good health habits among employees. Also known as workplace wellness, the potential to realize a return on the investment of such a program is not lost on employers. For one thing, increased employee wellness generally leads to increased productivity. For another, a corporate wellness program may help to reduce the costs of health insurance. Of course, employees benefit from being provided with an outlet to reduce work-related stress and access to various health service solutions.
In the U.S., corporate wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular. They are also expanding in scope. For example, while many businesses have provided health-related incentives such as on-site gym facilities for years, many are now adding additional services that range from massage therapy to nutritional counseling. In addition, many human resource managers have seized the opportunity to make their corporate wellness programs perform double duty. For example, lunch hour and coffee break stretching sessions can be combined with team-building games.
In addition to improving productivity, corporate wellness also appears to reduce absenteeism. Several reasons for this can be speculated. However, it seems reasonable to assume that the primary reason may be due to a reduction in certain conditions among employees that promote absenteeism, such as obesity. Statistically speaking, employees that are overweight are much more likely to suffer “office colds” and other medical problems that can keep them away from work.
There are other benefits to initiating a corporate wellness program that are less obvious, one of them being to improve employee retention. It’s a fact that recruiting and training new employees is an expense that can quickly add up. However, greater employee satisfaction can result in fewer turnovers and minimize the need for this expenditure. In addition, offering a corporate wellness program may attract better-qualified candidates for employment. As an added bonus, a company that embraces corporate wellness tends to be perceived as “caring,” which translates to a positive public image and enhanced community relations.
A corporate wellness program is not a one-size-fits-all plan, however. In fact, there are companies and individuals that specialize in tailoring a program according to the employer’s size and physical accommodations. The usual menu of choices for a program typically consists of health seminars, personal counseling, and on-site fitness checkups. However, many programs offer additional services, such as massage sessions, yoga and Pilates. Group activities designed to promote personal accountability and team-building skills may include boxing, self-defense training, and even extended boot camps.
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