The world of corporate wellness has been around for the better half of the last 2 centuries and is evolving every day. It can be a challenge to keep up with the changes. As wellness evolves, employee wellness continues to creep up on the priority list for corporate business leaders.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way both employers and employees look at wellness programs. Employees that began working from home started to prioritize their mental health and work/life balance. Employers have had to adjust their strategies to entice and retain top talent and implement wellness benefits.
Providing employees with wellness programs has shown increased productivity and a positive employee experience. In fact, 62% of team members with access to workplace wellness programs reported increased productivity. Sick days were also reduced among 56% of team members.
The benefits of an employee wellness program are somewhat straightforward, but it can be a challenge to know where to begin. There are a myriad of wellness programs and companies available to improve workplace culture. An overview of this ever-evolving world can help uncover what works best for all types of workplaces.
What are Wellness Programs?
Wellness programs are, essentially, benefits provided by a workplace to promote physical, mental, and medical health. Employers with a wellness program can provide their team with resources that encourage a positive work/life balance and employee experience.
Quality health care benefits are a must for employees, as they need an occupation that can support their medical needs. However, there’s been a massive shift towards employers supporting their employee’s physical and mental health as well. Employers are working to make employees feel appreciated and cared for by offering multi-faceted, yet easily accessible wellness programs. This often includes support in smoking cessation, healthy eating, weight management, mental health counseling, access to physical activity, and more.
Employers started to tailor their wellness programs to fit their employee’s needs in the early 2000s. Since then, many employee wellness companies have formed to fit these varieties in need. These companies help provide wellness benefits to employees without having to start from scratch. Businesses can take advantage of the benefits while improving culture and productivity, and saving on healthcare costs with a Wellness company.
The Current Employee Wellness Market
There has been a rise in corporate wellness companies that help employers provide the best employee experience. Some companies have been around since the beginning of wellness programs like Peerfit, which helps promote physical and mental wellbeing.
With the rise of mental health awareness, more companies have arisen to provide a better work/life balance and reduce stress. No matter their field, they build on improving employee health and promoting healthy behaviors. Some of the top corporate wellness companies include:
Accolade provides virtual primary and mental healthcare to employees. They help organizations big and small provide personalized healthcare services to their employees.
Employees are often used to getting basic health benefits, but with Accolade’s artificial intelligence, they get support with their most specific needs. This type of employee wellness company makes specific healthcare needs easily accessible to employees.
Headspace for Work provides employees with a wide array of content to improve mental health. Headspace is an app that uses science-backed methods of meditation to help employees reduce stress, be more productive, and even sleep better. Employees can access Headspace’s library full of guided meditations and exercises. This puts mental health as a higher priority for employees and prevents burnout while increasing focus.
Virgin Pulse takes wellness programs to a new level with its app, condition management, and third-party partners to provide employees with even more wellness resources. When employees have the virgin pulse app, they gain access to live coaching, step-by-step wellness plans, progress tracking, and more.
Employers can also navigate through all of the sources they have access to. Virgin pulse partners with Enrich to help with financial wellness, Foodsmart to encourage healthy eating habits, and Health Advocate to reduce stress and unhealthy habits. Virgin pulse can not only help reduce stress at the moment but have a long-term positive impact by encouraging healthy behaviors.
Peerfit provides employees with fitness solutions that work and are personalized for them. Gym memberships can be too expensive or difficult to maintain for employees. Peerfit gives employees access to studios and fitness classes that fit with their schedules and encourages participation with peers and coworkers, all paid for by their employer or insurance provider.
Peerfit makes it easy to increase employee wellness and engagement with a mobile and web app. Employees can sign up for a wide range of classes: cycling, cross-fit, yoga, dance, and more!
What's new in the World of Wellness?
This list is just a few of the employee wellness companies available to employers. In the past 2 decades, companies began to prioritize employee wellness. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked some newer wellness program developments. The increase of employees working from home has led to employers providing benefits that incorporate wellness programs digitally.
Employees appreciate the flexibility that comes with wellness apps and virtual healthcare. Peerfit became one of the first of its kind in the world of corporate wellness programs. More companies are following suit and providing the accessibility that employers are looking for.
Wellness programs are used to focus on preventing and reducing unhealthy behaviors. In the past, this often translated to directing wellness programs towards weight loss, healthy eating, and smoking cessation. Since then, wellness programs that are directed toward each employee’s individual needs are more effective. Some of the top wellness benefits today include:
- Fitness programs
- Social activities
- Nutrition guides and apps
- Mental health
How to Start an Employee Wellness Program
If forming a successful wellness program is something that’s top of mind, start with prioritizing. Consider employee needs and how the most needs can be met while saving on healthcare costs. Here are a few things to consider when starting out:
Survey employees to see what their highest priorities are. This will help give insight into what programs would be well received. Getting feedback is also a way for employees to feel the most heard. From this information, a wellness partner can help fit the needs of the organization, which will provide the best return on investment.
When taking feedback, remember that resources need to be easily accessible. Employees won’t use programs that interrupt their daily routine. This is why it’s key that the wellness benefit works with anyone’s schedule. Having a diverse amount of wellness resources accessible is also important for those with disabilities or who are neurodivergent.
The more employees that use your wellness programs, the stronger your community will be. It’s important to pick a wellness partner that keeps your employees engaged and interested. This will give you a substantial return on investment. Those that use the wellness program can build stronger connections with peers, experience an increase in productivity rate and an improvement to their overall health.
Consider each of these aspects to experience long-term improvements in employee retention and engagement. When you explore employee wellness programs, you are prioritizing the health and wellness of your employees. This will aid in making an overall impact on your company and its culture