Well, well, well. That's how companies hope their employees will feel now that many major corporations are offering extensive health and wellness programs for their staffs.
Well, well, well.
That's how companies hope their employees will feel now that many major corporations are offering extensive health and wellness programs for their staffs.
"Instead of being reactive, they're trying to take a proactive approach," said Stacey Valentas, program manager at Discover's onsite fitness center in New Albany.
Businesses have been helping their employees with healthcare costs for years, but in the past decade, a growing number of them have begun providing workers with education, free services and incentives to improve their physical condition.
"We provide flu shots," said Sonya Higginbotham, director of corporate communications for Worthington Industries. "We have a dietician on staff. We have exercise facilities on our location."
Discover offers similar perks, including blood pressure and cholesterol screenings and free personal training at its fitness center. The four-person staff supervises up to 200 personal training sessions a month.
Besides services and facilities, companies host health fairs and provide literature to educate their people about the effects of smoking or how much sugar is in one can of soda.
Not everyone takes advantage of these perks. About 40 percent of Discover employees and 45 percent of the Worthington staff participate in wellness initiatives.
"Our biggest challenge is keeping people engaged throughout the year," Higginbotham said.
One way to get employees involved is through incentive programs. Worthington Industries workers can earn up to $600 in incentives each year, while Discover offers quarterly awards and prizes for completing various fitness-related tasks.
Third-party vendors help companies concoct initiatives like "Take 5," which encourages workers to eat five fruits and vegetables per day, and a hydration program called "Got Water?" In exchange for points in their incentive program, Worthington has assigned "wellness champions" at each of their facilities to encourage their co-workers to participate.
General busyness and laziness also make it advantageous to bring the program directly into the workplace - for instance, building an onsite facility rather than offering discounts at an existing gym.
"The more convenient it is to the employees, the more likely they are to use it," said Rachel Bowman, a health and fitness specialist at Discover.
Companies have many reasons for seeking a healthy workforce. For one, sickly people aren't very efficient workers.
"We are a manufacturing facility," Higginbotham said. "If our employees are healthy and in good shape, they are more productive."
A fit workforce lets businesses get the most out of their payroll dollars, but it also keeps them from having to spend more on employee healthcare. The fitness staff at Discover cited research by health benefits company Humana that suggest obesity adds $127 billion to the national health care bill each year - an average of $19.39 for every overweight pound. Worthington Industries has saved two dollars in medical expenses for every dollar the company invests in its wellness program.
So, just as these programs improve workers' quality of life, they help companies stay healthy in an ever-worsening economy.
"It's more than just health care," Higginbotham said. "It's kind of the whole complete picture."