Wellness in the workplace-it’s a war out there!

My most recent post gave some detail about the dangers of being a CEO and that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wellness, or should I say lack of wellness, in the workplace.  You would have to be living in a vacuum to not realize the chronic health challenges that our country faces, but I will take some time in this post to list some of the statistics and also show what some entities are doing to help turn the tide when it comes to workplace wellness and wellness in general.

Here are a few statistics to consider, courtesy of the US Workplace Wellness Alliance:

  • The fastest growing cost for employers are employee health benefits. For an average Fortune 500 company, overall health benefit costs were projected to exceed profits by 2008.
  • The number of businesses offering health benefits is decreasing, from 69% in 2000 compared to 60% in 2009.
  • The amount of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care is projected to increase from 15.9% in 2003 to 19.3% in 2019.
  • Health care costs will be impacted exponentially by health risks and chronic illnesses associated with an aging workforce.

It comes as now surprise when you read these statistics that the availability of affordable healthcare coverage has become as important as salary or wage levels when many consider accepting or leaving jobs they work in or consider doing.  Our country lives with a “sickness” mentality and insurance is our “security blanket” since the insurance plan covers the cost of repair and rarely offers any incentive, or coverage for wellness related activities.  A change needs to occur and that change is Wellness as a workplace initiative.  Wellness in the workplace is as important as availability of financial capital and is also a key ingredient for workforce planning when one considers who will occupy roles of key leadership in a firm as the firm changes and evolves.

Leaders in organizations look for “bottom line” results when it comes to initiatives like wellness.  here are just a few compelling reasons to consider wellness in the workplace (courtesy of USWWA):

From a review of 73 published studies of worksite health promotion programs

  • Average $3.50-to-$1 savings-to-cost ratio in reduced absenteeism and health care costs.

From a meta-review of 56 published studies of worksite health promotion programs

  • Average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism
  • Average 26 percent reduction in health costs
  • Average 32 percent reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs
  • Average $5.81-to-$1 savings-to-cost ratio

In a critical review of 12 new studies published between 2000 and 2004, all studies reported “favorable clinical and/or cost outcomes.”

I’ll be writing more on this topic in the coming week or two and I’ll give you some specific resources you could consider if you choose to promote wellness in your workplace.

What are you doing to promote wellness?  Is Wellness even on the radar screen in your organization?