At the level of society-at-large, public health standards have in many ways been drastically decreasing over recent years. While the number of health-related problems is growing, the average level of physical activity on the part of individuals is decreasing. This has further contributed to the decline in overall health across the population.
In order to curb this troubling trend, organizations have begun to design (or implement externally-designed) wellness programs. The basic aim of these programs is to improve the emotional and physical health of the target group of employees.
The underlying idea behind any wellness program is to augment the health of the individual. This endeavor is often initiated by insurance companies, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations for their employees or other stakeholders. The programs address health-related issues, including the emotional, physical, mental dimensions of a person’s life. They seek to bring about a lifestyle change among program participants by increasing their physical activity levels and changing their dietary habits.
Many companies offer participation incentives such as gifts, vacation days and even reductions in insurance premiums. The success of the overall program will depend on nature of the target group.
The advantages and benefits related to the implementation of a well-run wellness programs are profound and important. A better lifestyle – accompanied by increased physical activity – will lead to a reduction in common health problems like cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and stroke. A happy and fulfilling life is not possible without adequate health.
For the corporations, as well as small and midsize businesses, wellness programs help to increase the level of job satisfaction. Having healthier employees help the company rein in healthcare expenditures and increase worker output. An increase in the vitality and health of the employee has a direct correlation with his efficiency in the work place. Stress management can also be effectively dealt with through wellness programs.
While wellness programs have their advantages, they have their challenges, as well. For one, the basic success of any program is dependent on the enthusiasm of the participants. Most individuals tend to not participate in such programs with the requisite motivation or energy. It is often difficult for the individuals to take the time out for such initiatives. In wellness programs for employees, the foremost issue is the ability of the company to create an atmosphere of active participation, while committing the required resources to sustain the program. The startup investment is often substantial and will take time before being actually realized in the form of bottom-line savings. Many employees have privacy concerns, as well, given that many of these programs entail a complete health assessment. Often times, the employees who would benefit the most also lack the motivation to join.
The guiding principle for any corporate wellness program is quite straightforward: it is an attempt to make people’s lives better and more productive. The lack of physical activity, coupled with a poor diet, will usually lead to higher healthcare costs. The advantages associated with any such program are obvious and can never be understated. The basic obstacle for the success of any given program is the chronic lack of motivation. Only when the individual is committed to rectify his lifestyle can any such program be truly effective.
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