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Employee wellness programs have long been known to improve employee health. This article will take a look at the programs’ impact on employee health and productivity outcomes.
Comprehensive employee wellness programs may include benefits to address physical, mental, emotional, and even financial health. The focus of this article will be on employee fitness.
What are the benefits of corporate wellness for employers?
Employers have learned that if they take care of employees outside of providing a salary alone, they reap many benefits:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced absenteeism (1)
- Increased engagement
- Improved camaraderie
- Greater retention
Because of the benefit of corporate wellness programs to both employee and employer, they are a key component in many comprehensive employee benefit programs.
By providing employees opportunities to improve their fitness and overall health as part of their benefits, companies see a return on their investment through reduced healthcare premiums, employee acquisition and retention, and healthier, more engaged, and more productive employees.
What is a corporate fitness center?
One of the ways that many companies provide wellness benefits for their employees is by creating an employee fitness facility or gym.
Employers need to do everything they can to make themselves stand out to candidates for employment. This is especially true in fields where there is a lot of competition to acquire and retain talented employees.
Of course, once candidates have been hired, companies want to do everything they can to keep them healthy and productive!
An employee fitness facility is a key amenity to achieve those goals. It signifies that the employer cares not only about their work output but also about their personal development.
What are the benefits of a corporate fitness center for employees?
For employees, a corporate fitness center provides a number of benefits:
- Financially, it is a boost since employees no longer have to pay for an outside gym membership.
- Mentally, it provides them with a healthy way to take a break or relieve stress during the workday.
- Physically, exercise is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health.
Why is corporate fitness important?
Corporate fitness has a positive impact on employee health. For one, the sense of camaraderie and community that is built in a corporate gym is tangible and goes a long way in building a healthy corporate culture.
In addition, there is a vast amount of research on the benefits of participating in a workplace fitness or wellness program on employee health.
For example, corporate fitness programs can help to significantly reduce musculoskeletal pain in employees, (2) which is one of the most common causes of lost work time and constitute 33% of all worker injuries. (3)
It is essential to intersperse work with movement to help prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and other sedentary lifestyle-related diseases and disorders.
How is exercise related to productivity?
Employee productivity is a hot topic, and for a good reason. Companies want to know that they are getting a good return on investment (ROI) when they hire an employee, and productivity is a factor in the ROI equation.
Here are some facts about the relationship between exercise and productivity:
- Taking breaks is one of the keys to improving productivity, and what better than to get some exercise!
- Studies indicate that stress is directly related to productivity. Therefore, when employee stress increases, job performance and productivity decrease. (4) Exercise can boost the brain’s stress buffers by lowering cortisol and epinephrine. (5)(6)
- Studies also show that productivity improves with improved mood. (6)(7) Exercise is also proven to improve mood. (8) More specifically, two forms of exercise are typically the best for providing a mood-boosting effect: resistance training (9) (for anxiety) and yoga (10) (for relaxation).
- Exercise is effective in treating anxiety and depression, and it improves memory, attention span, and cognition. (11)
- Moreover, as muscle strength increases, so does productivity. (12)
How to start and promote a corporate wellness program?
Employers who are considering a corporate wellness program should look at how they want to impact their employees.
There are many options out there for dashboards and online automated tools for wellness. But in my experience, you get the biggest bang for your buck by providing employees programs that get people up and moving and motivate them to make lasting changes in their overall health.
To be able to do that successfully, you need a professional who is personally invested in the success of the program.
In addition to mental and physical healthcare components, a well-rounded corporate wellness program should include:
- Group fitness classes
- Corporate challenges
- 5K programs
- Workshops and webinars to educate on a variety of health topics
Employers may also want to look at providing additional resources for high-risk individuals. And once you know what types of programs you will provide, you have to make sure employees know about their benefits.
Corporate wellness programs can be highly effective tools for improving employee health, building corporate culture, and providing an innovative and exciting workplace.
They can also provide employers with a healthier, more engaged, less costly, and more productive workforce. The key is to commit to making wellness a priority and to make it fun!