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Wellness programs are usually employer-sponsored initiatives that are designed to improve the health of employees. They aim to prevent sickness, stress and other physical and mental disorders that might affect employee productivity and well-being. Examples of wellness program activities might include employer reimbursement for gym memberships or on-site smoking cessation programs. Workplace wellness programs help employees feel that their employer is invested in their well-being, which might motivate them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Workplace wellness programs often focus on the early identification of disease and other health problems. Programs might be offered that disperse information or even allow on-site screenings for hypertension, diabetes or certain types of cancers. For example, some workplace wellness programs might encourage women to receive screenings for breast cancer detection through using on-site mobile mammography units. Employers may benefit from early identification programs because it not only ensures the health and productivity of their employees, but it also reduces medical claims costs.
Promote Healthy Lifestyles
Prevention of disease and promoting a healthier lifestyle is another reason that workplace wellness programs are so important. In addition to smoking cessation seminars and support, many workplace wellness programs also offer in-person lifestyle coaching services or educational programs that help with weight loss, stress management, sleep issues or nutrition. They also usually provide personalized information and tools, such as online educational resources, to assist employees in achieving their goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Some, but not all, workplace wellness programs might offer employees the opportunity to complete valuable educational courses and seminars that can benefit both the employee and the employer. These courses might include training on CPR, first aid or Automated External Defibrillation, also referred to as AED. Educated employees can assist during emergency or potentially life-threatening situations and might help prevent cardiac arrest, in situations where an AED is available, or care for employees undergoing other forms of distress until professional help arrives.
Workplace wellness programs might also help with injury reduction and/or management, especially in employment settings that involve heavy lifting and other types of laborious tasks, says a June 2011 report by the Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section. The agencies studied for this report indicated that back strain and slips and falls were among the most prevalent workplace injuries. Workplace wellness programs train employees about proper lifting techniques, pre-shift stretching exercises and other relevant issues that can potentially reduce workplace injury, as well as educate employees about ways to avoid exacerbating preexisting injuries and conditions.