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The Evolution of Employee Wellness Programs

Uncategorized Apr 19, 2023

By eLifestyle President, Blogger, Wellness Culture Synergist & Executive Wellness Expert, Robb Armstrong


As the world of work continues to evolve, the essentiality of employee wellness programs cannot be overstated. These programs are designed to support employee wellbeing and help them to stay healthy and productive both inside and outside of work, leading to a thriving work culture. Today, we'll explore the importance of employee wellness programs, supported with some key statistics that highlight the benefits of such programs. And to help present a more thorough overview of the shifting dynamics within organizations, we’ll also bring to light a few of the significant challenges corporate leaders are faced with as they look to implement these programs for their hybrid workforce.

Positive Impacts of Boosting Employee Health

Employee wellness programs are becoming increasingly essential among organizations of all sizes and industries. These programs can include a range of initiatives, such as fitness classes, mindfulness training, mental health support, healthy eating programs, and even digital wellness platforms that support employees and their family that are accessible 24/7. The benefits of these programs are clear, with studies showing that they can have a positive impact on both employee wellbeing and organizational performance.

One of the key benefits of employee wellness programs is that they can help to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism. According to a study by the National Business Group on Health, absenteeism costs U.S. employers approximately $225.8 billion each year. Presenteeism, which refers to the practice of employees showing up to work when they are sick or otherwise unwell, can also be costly. The problem is that even though they are showing up physically, they’re really checked out mentally. Studies have shown that presenteeism can cost employers up to three times as much as absenteeism. However, with the implementation of employee wellness programs, these costs can be reduced by supporting employees to stay healthy and take care of their wellbeing.

Employee wellness programs can also have a positive impact on employee engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel supported and valued by their employers, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel satisfied with their jobs. This can lead to lower turnover rates and higher levels of productivity. A study by the Health Enhancement Research Organization found that companies with highly effective wellness programs had 22% higher engagement and 41% lower turnover than companies with low-effectiveness programs.

In addition to these benefits, employee wellness programs can also improve employee mental health. According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. By providing mental health support through employee wellness programs, organizations can support employees to manage their mental health and prevent productivity losses due to these disorders.

The benefits of employee wellness programs are clear, but it's also important to note that they can be cost-effective for organizations. While the upfront costs of implementing these programs may seem daunting, the long-term benefits can outweigh these costs. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, every dollar spent on employee wellness programs can yield $6 in healthcare savings and $4 in reduced absenteeism and presenteeism costs.

3 Challenges Corporate Leaders Face

At face value, enacting employee wellness programs are a no-brainer. However, there is still more to the equation when it comes to creating a wellness program that aims to benefit everyone. Fact is, corporate leaders are facing significant challenges in implementing workplace wellness programs for their hybrid workforce. The first challenge is the lack of physical interaction between employees and management. With a hybrid workforce, employees can work remotely or from different locations, making it challenging to interact with each other physically. This lack of physical interaction can hinder the success of workplace wellness programs as team building activities and group exercises become impossible to conduct. Additionally, there may be a communication gap between remote and in-office employees, which could lead to a lack of motivation and engagement in wellness activities.

The second challenge is the difficulty in accommodating different employee schedules. In a hybrid workforce, employees may have different work schedules or work from different time zones, making it difficult to schedule wellness activities that cater to everyone's needs. For instance, a lunchtime yoga class may work for employees working in the office, but those working remotely may not have the same schedule or may have other commitments during that time. This can make it challenging to create a cohesive wellness program that accommodates everyone's schedules and preferences. Finally, corporate leaders must navigate the different technology platforms and tools required for virtual wellness activities, which may be unfamiliar or intimidating to some employees. This challenge can result in low participation rates and may even cause some employees to feel left out, leading to a lack of engagement and motivation.

In conclusion, employee wellness programs are a vital part of any leading organization's strategy to support employee wellbeing and productivity. By reducing absenteeism and presenteeism, improving employee engagement and job satisfaction, and supporting employee mental health, these programs can have a positive impact on both employees and organizations. As such, it's not only important for organizations to invest in employee wellness programs that prioritize employee wellbeing, but equally important to support corporate leaders with the challenges they too are faced with in their role.


Be on the lookout for new blog posts each week!


➡️ Interested in a Workplace Wellness Plan for your organization? Book a 30-min. consultation with eLifestyle CEO, Wellness Culture Synergist and Executive Wellness Expert, Leah Epstein Armstrong!

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