Corporate wellness -- and the shifts taking place within it -- are making headlines. With the growing popularity of wellness, coupled with the rise in health issues and costs, companies are investing more time and money today in corporate wellness programs. They understand the importance of preventative health for employees over the long term.
According to Dr. Roger Sahoury, author of Gladiator's Guide to Corporate Health & Wealth, as quoted in Forbes, 55% of workers acknowledged that workplace wellness program had a hand in improving their overall well-being; this equates to $250 million in savings in lowered health costs and a 50% reduction in high blood pressure among employees.
These figures show that corporate wellness works. But it takes time to figure out what motivates employers and employees to fully embrace wellness goals and to commit to a long-term healthy lifestyle change. This means that corporate wellness programs are constantly evolving.
Program success is measured by total wellness integration into company culture. This happens in stages. Throughout, shifts occur. Here are three notions that when introduced, contribute to the adoption and success of wellness in the workplace:
1. Wellness will no longer be optional -- For employees, participating in wellness programs has always been a choice. No more! The costs of chronic diseases, healthcare, and an aging population worldwide have changed things. Governments around the world will gradually make wellness mandatory in different ways. (For instance, Mexico has a soda tax and prohibits salt shakers on restaurant tables; Japan measure BMI and waistlines and penalizes citizens who don't make changes; in the U.S., there will likely be wellness tax incentives to reward change.)
2. Wellness will be indiscernible -- To prevent feelings of "forced wellness," it will be seamlessly integrated into our daily lives without us even noticing! How? By designing and building homes and offices that have healthier standards to help keep us well. This includes increased air ventilation, replacing carpets and furniture with those whose materials have fewer toxins and chemicals, special lighting, and even mobile sensors that monitor individuals' health indicators such as oxygen, stress and hunger levels.
3. A Workplace Wellness Culture -- GWI forecasts that investments in creating workplace wellness and healthy workforces will grow even more in the next 5-10 years. This in inevitable because the average Fortune 500 company currently spends 80 percent of its after-tax profits on employee medical costs. Therefore, companies will start implementing initiatives that counter workplace stress by promoting healthy work spaces, fair pay, mandatory vacations and disconnecting from work emails and calls after hours.