What is Worksite Wellness?

S. Gonzales

Worksite wellness an approach to promoting employee health through the implementation of strategic wellness programs. These programs can aim to modify intellectual, physical, emotional, psychological, and social areas of an employee's life or all of them at once. Promoting the overall well-being of employees is at the forefront of any program.


Workplace wellness programs attempt to modify employee lifestyles for the better through education, health awareness, health risk assessment and advice on individual choices. Employers may choose programs that concentrate on any one of these areas or they may opt to choose a more comprehensive program. Regardless of the program chosen, the goal is to change employee behavior for the benefit of the employee and the company.

Some employers seek to curb specific employee behaviors that are considered hazardous or otherwise negative to the workplace environment. For example, employers often implement wellness programs to aid employees in their attempts to stop smoking tobacco. Stress management skills may also be taught so that employees can work more effectively and make worksites less tense.

Collective behaviors may also be targeted. Programs can encourage employees to remain active and use stairs instead of elevators. Vending machines may be restocked with healthy and nutritious options instead of junk food. In these ways, employees will be made aware of behaviors and choices that are detrimental to their health and employers will make decisions to help reduce instances of negative choices.

The best worksite wellness programs are usually those that are comprehensive and involve all aspects of an employee's life. It is not unusual to have an employee's home life examined. Relationships with spouses and children can be evaluated along with basic worksite environments.

Because no two businesses are the same, worksite wellness programs may be designed specifically around a company's needs and its employees' profiles. Before a program is designed, health screenings of all employees may take place. The content of educational seminars and wellness coaching can then be developed based on the health screening findings.

Integrating and implementing a successful worksite wellness plan can result in a business saving money on health care costs. Illnesses and injuries, for example, can be curbed if employees are trained to know how to identify, manage and even avoid them. Businesses may see an increase in employee productivity if their employees use the wellness programs and begin changing their lifestyles for the better. In addition, absenteeism may be reduced and employee morale and retention may rise.

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