Interested stakeholders seeking to improve workplace morale and reduce workers’ compensation costs should consider adding a wellness program. It will achieve the goals and create a better workplace when done correctly. When considering the implementation of a program, some considerations need to be taken for the wellness program to succeed.
The Benefits of Wellness Programs
There are countless benefits to a wellness program are countless and including tangible and intangible benefits. The critical thing to remember is that such programs need to be voluntary to avoid “creating” workers’ compensation claims resulting from the participants’ injuries.
- Studies indicate that for every dollar spent on a wellness program, stakeholders see up to $4 in return;
- Studies document an increase in workplace productivity when effective wellness programs are implemented; and
- Studies conclude there is an enhancement in the lifestyles employee lead when they are involved in workplace wellness programs.
Now is the time to consider a wellness program within your workplace. Not implementing a program can result in your workforce having problems with obesity, smoking, and poor physical condition. This can result in higher rates of absenteeism and work injuries – including increased severity of injuries.
Incentive-Based Wellness Programs
There are a variety of ways to measure results within a wellness program. The most successful programs encourage all participants to achieve or progress toward scientifically-based benchmarks. These can include:
- Incentives for not smoking or using tobacco and smoking cessation programs;
- Maintain acceptable blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stay current on vaccinations against common ailments and diseases; and
- Encouragement to stay physically active such as using a step counter, running and other exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, or planking, and simple core strengthening activities such as sit-ups and push-ups.
When implementing a program that includes the above metrics, common incentives include offering a reduction in health insurance premiums. Other considerations can include discounts on health club memberships that encourage a healthy lifestyle during times of inclement weather and the winter months. Now is the time to be creative when designing your program.
Other Vital Aspects of Wellness
There have been several emerging health-related issues that have taken center stage over the past several years. This includes mental health awareness, substance abuse, and people dealing with chronic pain. Incorporating these issues into your wellness program is crucial to encouraging participation and creating a better workplace.
- Mental Health: We have learned much about a person’s psychological and/or psychiatric well-being over the past decade. This includes an awareness that mental health is more important than someone’s physical health. Taking the “shame” out of suffering from anxiety and depression breeds a culture of acceptance. Show support for coworkers suffering from mental health issues or an employee recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) by including awareness of this issue within the workplace. It can also help reduce the chances and frequency of workplace violence.
- Substance Abuse: Countless Americans suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. Failing to address these issues as part of a workplace wellness program will only fail. A focus on these issues needs to be done non-judgmental and confidential. Awareness of the issue is key. Offering support programs to an employee suffering from these afflictions goes hand in hand with mental health awareness issues.
- Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia: There is a significant prevalence of people who suffer from these issues. People who suffer from these conditions feel like a “freak,” given the nature of their symptoms. A better workplace includes a concentration of support for people suffering from chronic pain and fibromyalgia. When addressed, it can increase workplace morale.
Including support for people suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and chronic pain is an essential component of a workplace wellness program. Now is the time to address these issues to promote a successful wellness program.
Now is the time to include a workplace wellness program as part of your workers’ compensation program to reduce program costs. When considering a program, it is essential to make it voluntary and non-judgmental. Buy-in for stakeholders can include benefits for all a need to include programming for physical and mental well-being. When done right, it can also positively impact workplace morale.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center, which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
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