Wellness programs at work can have a direct impact on employee satisfaction, productivity, well-being, and workers’ compensation costs. Compared to workers who are not offered these kinds of wellness programs, employees who are involved in them are more likely to be satisfied with their overall benefits.
In a report produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Humana, researchers write that wellness programs increase employee engagement with the company’s mission and goals. “Employees are also more likely to see their own wellness as being linked with professional success,” the report reads.
What’s more, employers with wellness programs that are focused on prevention mixed with risk management can see positive outcomes impacting their traditional workers’ compensation coverage, safety results, and workplace rapport.
Here’s a look at reducing workers’ comp costs through an effective employee wellness program at work.
What is an Employee Wellness Program?
Employee wellness programs are defined policies and activities that are assembled by employers to promote and instill better health and well-being for their employees in more ways than one. The ultimate goal is to create well-rounded employees who can find resources for better mental, emotional, social, and physical health, posturing them to be healthier employees who produce the best results at work.
These programs usually include three elements including health risk assessments, biometric testing, and behavior modifications. From there, employers will be able to see which employees are high, medium, or low risk and can start to find new ways to encourage participation in a wellness program.
The Costs of Unhealthy Employees
Discriminating against employees in poor health, no matter the factor (i.e. mental or physical), is illegal, of course. But there is still the opportunity available to encourage them to get involved in their own way in a wellness program.
Employees at a high risk of depression and anxiety cost almost 70 percent more than low-risk employees. The reason? Lower response times, loss of focus at work, tight muscles that can be more easily injured, and risky behavior all play a role in this data.
Another risk that employers face in terms of high workers’ compensation costs is the rising risk of obesity in the United States. As much as 35 percent of the American workforce is counted as obese, not just slightly overweight. These employees cost workers’ compensation plans seven times the medical costs, have a recovery time that’s 13-times longer than non-obese employees, and higher indemnity costs.
Reducing Workers’ Comp Costs
From poor fitness levels to smoking to overeating or being overly stressed, there are many different ways someone can exhibit a lack of health. These health issues and more result in more accidents and injuries while work is being done. Even employees who find themselves in a comfortable office environment can be at a higher risk of injury in some capacity if they lack health in certain areas.
Healthier employees have fewer accidents when they are involved in a wellness program as well as lower workers’ compensation costs and shorter recovery periods. The American Journal of Health Promotion looked at 56 studies on wellness in the workplace and found that employers with wellness programs see an average of a 27-percent reduction in sick leave and 32 percent less in overall workers’ compensation claims, saving companies major dollars year-over-year.
An effective employee wellness program can help employees identify the problems they face every day with their own health and can help them with resources and solutions. While these programs can help cut costs for companies, it can also improve the lives of those who work there.
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