Unhealthy lifestyle choices and chronic disease cost businesses billions in healthcare every year. Corporate wellness programs encourage individuals to make their health a priority.
Employers play an important role in helping their workers get healthy with programs and incentives – both to create a healthier, happier workforce as well as to save on long-term medical costs. Here are four corporate wellness trends making their way into the workplace this year:
1. Personalized wellness services
Health is highly personal, and a “one-size-fits-all” approach won’t meet every employee’s individual needs. What’s vital to one person may be unimportant to another.
Companies are branching out and offering more personalized wellness services to serve employees efficiently. Many employers offer access to an individual health coach or incentivize good habits like exercise and healthy eating.
Companies also use digital platforms and online portals that can help employees keep track of their health and wellness goals. New fitness technology, like wearable fitness trackers and pedometers, makes it easy for companies to tailor programs and health tracking to individuals.
Individual health coaching, online health forums and portals, and fitness trackers such as Fitbit all serve as interactive experiences for employees. Utilizing these tools and programs can encourage workers to engage with wellness services.
2. A holistic approach
In the early days of corporate wellness initiatives, most programs were broad in nature and focused on a few key aspects of health. These traditional services typically covered things like weight management and quitting tobacco.
Today’s companies are incorporating programs that encompass more areas of employee health. This holistic approach means things like sleep and stress get just as much attention as other healthy habits. Even financial health programs are being instituted because of the tangible link between financial stress and physical health issues. By addressing more aspects of health and wellness, these programs can be more effective than the simpler programs dedicated only to one or two habits.
And the benefits aren’t just altruistic. Sleep deprivation and stress are serious problems for today’s workforce. Studies estimate that sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers up to $411 billion each year. Other studies have shown that workplace stress causes up to 120,000 deaths each year.
By encouraging employees not to work excessive overtime hours late into the night, or providing a flexible schedule, employers are helping workers lower stress and get adequate sleep – plus boosting productivity and engagement, and potentially lowering healthcare costs.
3. Integrating workplace options for wellness
Another trend cropping up in workplace wellness is the effort to integrate healthy options for employees.
Many individuals rely on the food provided by their workplace. Companies are working to make nourishing food available in on-site cafeterias. Vending machines that would normally hold chips and cookies are starting to include snacks like mixed nuts, healthy juices, and cut veggies. Providing these items gives employees the chance to make healthful choices.
Employers are also starting to set up workstations designed to discourage workers from being sedentary all day long. Sitting in front of a computer for long hours can result in eye strain, poor posture, and carpal tunnel syndrome, not to mention unhealthy metabolic changes with long-term health effects. Standing desks and treadmill walking desks are easy to install and they can be a great alternative for employees who would otherwise be sitting for most of the day.
4. Emergency Training
A recent survey conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that most US employees do not know how to respond to a workplace emergency like the sudden cardiac arrest. Half of those surveyed were not able to locate an automated external defibrillator (AED) at their office.
Although workplaces are making strides in providing employees holistic wellness programs, they are behind in preparing their workers for emergency situations at work. Most of the survey participants did not have access to CPR or basic first aid training.
Training employees how to perform CPR, use AEDs, or provide basic first aid can save lives. In a single year, 475,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest, and the survival rate of the 356,000 that occur outside of a hospital setting is only about 10 percent.
CPR saves lives by combining breathing into the mouth and chest compressions to keep oxygenated blood moving through the body when the heart has stopped. The American Heart Association says that “CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest.” And because an AED resets the heart’s rhythm with electric pulses, it is even more impactful in increasing survival rates in cases of cardiac arrest.
Training employees to respond in emergency situations like these is a critical part of workplace wellness.
At One Beat CPR + AED, we are dedicated to educating everyone about responding to an emergency, and we provide American Heart Association-certified CPR and AED training for groups and individuals. For more information, reach out to us today at 954-321-5305 or fill out our contact form.