When it comes to health and fitness, employers may talk a good game, but how much do they really care? Certainly, the evidence is building that wellness initiatives help in attracting and retaining talented people.
While managers may see qualitative benefits such as improved morale, they may not be sure of the financial payback. Yet the numbers are clear. A recent study by Atlantic Blue Cross Care, Aventis Pharma and the Atlantic Health and Wellness Institute reports the cost/benefit of $1.64 to $3.98 per dollar spent per employee, depending on the risk factors of the employee.
A wellness initiative in the workplace does not necessarily require a lot of money or resources. It does require a commitment from management and involvement from staff in its development.
The April 2010 issue of optimyz will feature the winners of the first-ever Healthy Workplace Awards, open to organizations in the four Atlantic provinces. The three main criteria for the awards will be psychological health, physical environment, and personal fitness and health. The survey will be conducted in the fall of 2009 by faculty at the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS. To nominate your organization, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A workplace wellness initiative may have three components: programs, environmental supports, and policies. Programs may include lunch and learn sessions, yoga classes or the like. Environmental supports may include the purchase of exercise equipment and providing healthy snacks on site. Policy may include anything from a “no meetings at lunch” rule to a funding for gym memberships. An organization can start small and slowly add new components.
A survey is a good way to determine the needs of your workplace and find out employees’ priorities for getting and staying healthy: do they want to quit smoking, be more physically active, need nutritional guidance to help them eat healthier?
In my consulting practice I have found that a workplace that provide wellness opportunities for employees produces a positive environment that becomes a place where energetic and positive people want to do business.
– Catherine Droesbeck, Workplace Wellness Consultants, Moncton, N.B.