Industry

Majority of Workers Say Employee Wellness Programs Work

By Alex Palmer
February 5, 2014

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Employees trying to stick with their New Years resolutions are finding wellness incentives to be a valuable assistant. A new study finds that more than half of American workers say that wellness programs help them to reach fitness goals they set at the start of the year.

The report, which comes from employee effectiveness firm Workplace Options, polled 693 workers at the end of January about their health goals and how their employer helped them to see they were accomplished. It found that 55 percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to stick to their goals if their employer provided free access to wellness resources.

Among the wellness offerings employees expected to be most valuable were an on-site gym (cited by 59 percent or those polled as helping employees succeed), weight-loss coaching (49 percent), and tobacco-cessation programs (43 percent).

“From a lack of time to a lack of support, there are many reasons why people struggle to keep resolutions,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options, in a statement. “Companies can help employees by launching wellness initiatives and promoting them throughout the year. Giving staff access to resources can sometimes be the difference between a lifetime change and one that ends on January 2.”

The report also found that a sizable portion of the workforce sets wellness-related goals at the start of the New Year. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) set weight-loss goals for themselves, while 25 percent said they hoped to exercise more. Just 6 percent set the goal of quitting smoking for the year.

Debnam emphasized that employees’ reaching their wellness goals does not just help the workers themselves.

“Employers should remember that providing access to wellness programs benefits the company just as much as it benefits the employee,” added Debnam. “Healthier employees miss less work and are more productive when they are at work. That affects the bottom line, in addition to creating a positive company culture.”

The full results from the national survey can be found here.
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