Health and Welness for the Employees
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- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
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- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
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- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Health and Welness for the Employees
There are many reasons for the employees to get involved in a wellness program. Whether they like it or not overall wellness will affect their everyday life, at home as well as at work. The fact of the matter is that people that are in good health are usually more coherent and are able to enjoy more out of life. With more incentive going towards corporations paying subsidies to encourage employee participation there is increasing demand by employees to have a wellness program implemented.
A study of health risk data and medical insurance claims at a paper mill in Canton, North Carolina, revealed that the Canton employees who had taken part in a health and fitness programs spent an average of 30% less on medical claims than non-participants. Having established a clear link between health and fitness activities and lower health care costs, the Canton study led to refine and expand wellness programs. The company took a closer look at all the issues that could affect job performance and determined that the company needed to broaden the concept of wellness to include mental and emotional health as well as physical well being. In short, the company began to recognize that each employee is a whole person who brings much more than job skills to work every day. The company also began to understand that efforts at wellness promotion could only succeed by taking the needs of the whole person into account.
Fitness programs can reduce absenteeism. There are many documented situations of fitness and wellness programs are effective. In a one-year study of over 500 employees, each took part in a work place fitness program. The for each employee that worked out as little one day a week, cut their average number of sick days in half, from over ten sick days on average in the previous year without any activity to less than five in the following year. The report also showed that the employees that did not maintain a workout load of at least once a week did not reduce any sick-days. (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1997; 39:827-831) Each of the participants followed a one-hour supervised workout consisting of a warm-up, stretching, calisthenics, cardiovascular and strength-building program. Later in the study Dr. Lilian Lechner, M.P.H. stated, “While previous studies have found that employees most likely to partake in workplace fitness programs are those who already get the most regular exercise and tend to be in better health, the current show that work-based fitness offers added health benefits for employees regardless of their fitness level.” The objective of an in-house fitness program is primarily to stimulate employees to start participating in the program and secondarily to keep them exercising at a level of at least one-week. This report focused on the benefits to the company but mentioned that there were unmeasurable in the employee’s personal quality of life. The report mentioned the fact that not only the employees respond to the benefits of the physical fitness but they also responded to the fact that the company spent time and money recognizing the efforts of the individual made as a psychological difference in the employee.
Thousands of new gyms and physical fitness centers have opened in the past decade, providing a number of options for pursuing an exercise regimen. Although exercising on your own is less costly and time-consuming, a gym does offer some advantages. Companies are now offering the financial incentive to use the gym often by helping pay for a membership. If employees have a sociable bent, they'll probably find the camaraderie another reason to return regularly. Many gyms also offer convenient places to change and shower, a wide range of modern exercise equipment, and guided instruction.
Wellness is a multi-faceted approach to life that fosters a sense of good health and the competency to creatively manage life's challenges. Sometimes the employee becomes "stuck" on our journey to fully develop themselves, their relationships, and their lifestyle. During these times it may be helpful to explore concerns with professional assistance so that a bridge may be created between what the employee is and how the employee wants to be. That is why many wellness programs implement employee assistant programs in conjunction with a fitness
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Health promotion, Employee relations, Occupational safety and health, Workplace, Quality of life, Wellness, Health risk assessment, Employee benefit, Health, Physical fitness, Workplace wellness
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