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What is an Employee Wellness Program?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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An employee wellness program is an optional system to help reduce health care costs, boost employee education about health issues, and show workers that their health and well-being is important to the company. Companies can build employee wellness programs to suit the needs of their employee base, and offer rewards and incentives to motivate workers to participate. Customizable employee wellness plans may include a variety of benefits, classes, and programs for workers, all designed to promote a safe and healthy working environment.

An employee wellness program may be attached to some health insurance plans, and aims to reduce health care costs by focusing on injury and illness prevention. These programs may include lectures or detailed materials on workplace safety and hygiene, gym memberships or opportunities for group workout classes, and employee assistance programs, or EAPs. EAPs may provide care or subsidize therapy for workers in times of personal stress or suffering from problems that may affect job performance. Marital counseling, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, or grief counseling may all be covered by EAPs.

Personal safety and mental health may also be the focus of an employee wellness program. Diversity training, conflict management, and training in avoiding sexual harassment are all topics covered by some wellness programs. Giving employees a place where they feel safe and accepted will likely boost morale among workers and promote a positive atmosphere. Workers may also appreciate that their employer takes the time to arrange these programs and feel more company loyalty.

Obesity is a severe health problem in the United States and many other countries, and can be compounded by jobs that keep employees at a desk for many hours a day. Fitness and nutrition help may be an important part of an employee wellness program and help combat weight problems in the workplace. Offering healthy options in snack machines, providing fruits and vegetables to employees at no cost, and implementing company exercise programs can be greatly beneficial to the health of employees. By keeping workers fit, general health may improve, leading to fewer sick days and illnesses.

By implementing an employee wellness program, businesses may see a reduction in injuries, accidents, and total absenteeism. Workers may feel that their companies care about them, and be more productive in general. Some wellness programs are available as free downloads from public health initiatives, but a company with more resources to devote to employee health may want to hire a private company to assess the needs of the workers and create a customized program.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

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Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis


With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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