Wellness programs have become very popular in recent years. In its 2017 Employee Benefits Survey, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 24 percent of organizations added to their wellness benefits, which was the biggest increase for any benefit during the year.
While more businesses are investing in wellness initiatives, some owners may ask how effective workplace wellness programs really are. The answer to that can depend on your goals.
Employers often wonder if a wellness program can truly fit into their workforce demographic. Every employee’s needs can vary depending on their job description and working environment. Nowadays, this could mean work that is sedentary office-based, labor intensive, extended shifts, travel, working from home, and more. The good news is that there is a way to provide specific information to any diverse demographic.
Self-improvement is a constant thought in most consumer’s minds and the advertising industry knows this all too well. “The weight loss industry is a 60-billion-dollar business” oversaturated with fitness gurus and companies advocating various fad diets and weight-loss products. However, these media-marketed solutions don’t stick and people end up feeling confused and frustrated.
Aside from the quick-fix mentality from the media, people are also growing tired of the “just eat less and move more” advice they may receive from their physicians and peers. However, professional wellness coaches, who are trained in behavior modification techniques, can help individuals bridge the gap between medical recommendations and the behaviors required to implement them.
Did you know that 75 percent of all healthcare costs are attributed to preventable conditions? Imagine the burden this places on employers and their healthcare costs. Here is what the numbers are saying:
- 45 percent of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease.
- More than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by these five chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.
- Treatment for chronic disease constitutes roughly 96 cents per dollar for Medicare and 83 cents per dollar for Medicaid.
- More than one in four Americans have multiple chronic conditions (MCC), and this number is continuing to grow.
Chronic disease, by definition, is a disease that typically lasts three months or longer. In most cases, chronic conditions can be controlled but not cured. In fact, it affects 1.7 million lives each year, being the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Many people assume this is only affecting the elderly, but in the past 10 years, working aged adults being diagnosed with chronic diseases increased by 25 percent. This epidemic is having a strong effect on the cost of healthcare. A study performed at Milken Institute examined the relationship between chronic disease and absenteeism among full time workers. The study focused on seven different diseases and found that the indirect costs of chronic diseases (such as missed days away from work) are higher than the direct cost to treat them.
The health and fitness industry is growing in the corporate world; yet preventable diseases are still the leading cause of skyrocketing healthcare costs for employers and their workforce.
Here at Group Management Services, we do our best to design a program that is suited for everyone and every population. Our main priority is to help your employees achieve their personal health goals without interfering with your business. There are many benefits for the employer as well, such as a decrease in medical costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and business incentives through the ACA for offering a Wellness Program. Here is what GMS promises you:
- A customized program that is designed to suit your work environment and employee needs.
- A team of wellness experts comprised from various health backgrounds to offer personal, hands-on guidance that will create individual motivation and accountability
- Privacy for your employees under HIPPA and other federal regulations while working on personal health goals.
The truth of the matter is, there are strict government regulations to abide by when it comes to a workplace wellness program. As a result, many companies are turning to professional employer organizations to aid in the proper execution of an effective wellness program at their office.
If pressed, most employers would say that having a “rich benefits package” is a great way to attract and retain top quality employees. The more perks the better, right?
Those same employers would also probably say that they can’t afford the richest of plans, but try to offer the best that they can afford. Well, if you believe those two statements, you’re going to love reading this.
The EEOC has made it into the news again, but you may not have heard about it.
A few months after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a ruling on how pregnancy in the workplace can be viewed as a worker’s comp issue, they have now weighed in on wellness programs.
Under the Affordable Care Act, there has been a strong push on advocating wellness for employees, and rightfully so. Wellness programs improve the health and productivity of your employees while increasing efficiencies and increasing profitability.
However, according to an article on jdsupra.com, the EEOC has not yet issued guidelines on how employers can and must structure wellness programs to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite the lack of guidelines, the EEOC is pursuing two litigation cases against two separate companies for what they say are violations of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
If my mom only knew.
When I was younger, my parents would encourage (mandate) that I help them in the family garden out back. However, that really cut into my wiffle ball playing/tree-climbing/insect-torturing summertime. I came up with every excuse in the book to get out of it. I was told it was good exercise and that the vegetables we grew were healthier and better for me than anything we bought at the grocery store. I didn’t care. I was a kid. I hated vegetables.
Now we appear to have come full circle. Not only are gardens making appearances in the suburbs, they’re also starting to dot cityscapes and in a surprising twist, corporate campuses.