Saturday, May 15, 2010

Worksite Wellness Programs Lose Effectiveness When Employees Are Away from the Worksite

To improve the general health of their employees, employers often offer worksite wellness programs to their employees. Diet and exercise are important elements of these programs. The purpose of these programs is to lower health care costs by keeping employees healthy. However, for these worksite programs to be successful, the employees must spend most of their time at the worksite.

More and more, experts believe that wellness programs may enable organizations to be more profitable by improving employee health. In fact, according to the organization, U.S. Preventive Medicine, an effective wellness Program can yield a $1.00 to $3.00 return on investment.

And according to Right Management, a subsidiary of Manpower Inc., an organization’s wellness program can improve the organization’s competitive edge by increasing employee productivity and performance.

But it is important for the participants in a worksite wellness program to be onsite for the program to work, according to a study focusing on metropolitan transit workers in Minneapolis. Although the weight loss intervention program the transit workers were subjected to was a good program, the workers didn't spend enough time on the worksite for the program to have more than a negligent effect on the transit workers weight.

Nevertheless, it has been shown that effective wellness programs can be beneficial to the employer and the employee. The employer gets a more engaged and productive employee. And the employee will likely pay less out-of-pocket for health care, and the employee will have a higher quality of life.

Because wellness programs can be beneficial, medical weight loss centers might want to work with employers to find ways to extend the effects of wellness programs beyond the worksite. Using communication devices, for example, to stay in touch with employees, could be a way to extend the effects. Focusing on extending the effects of the intervention could become a weight loss center's niche. And focusing on this niche might give the service provider a competitive edge.

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