According to a recent study by Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health 2011/2012 Staying@Work, nearly nine out of 10 respondents reported excessive workloads and long hours as a top source of stress. The study also reported that 54 percent of U.S. companies are providing financial rewards for participation in health management programs, with 80 percent planning to do so by the end of this year.
“It is as important as ever for companies to continue to invest in wellness programs that focus on the associate’s overall health and well-being, as these types of programs can reflect a company’s investment in taking care of them and doing the right thing in light of what is going on in the world,” said Meghan Mitchell, senior manager of medical and health management for The Home Depot, which has run a corporate wellness program for more than 30 years.
Mitchell said Home Depot’s corporate wellness program is a critical component of its overall business strategy.
“We recognize that offering (it) naturally aligns with our core values as well as know that poor health greatly impacts direct medical costs and indirect costs such as associate productivity, including absenteeism and disability,” Mitchell said.
Home Depot’s program focuses on preventive health and lifestyle modification, keying on health risk awareness and addressing modifiable health risk factors. Its various on-site, low or reduced cost, or free programs focus on key behaviors such as nutrition/weight management, physical activity, tobacco cessation, flu prevention, prenatal care and stress management.
While many corporate wellness programs assess their employees’ satisfaction with factors such as work-life balance, Life College has a slightly different approach.
“Our orientation is toward vitalistic philosophy — individuals are inherently self-directed and developing, and capable of self-healing,” said William D. Jarr, executive vice president of finance at Life. “The concept of optimal performance is one in which each individual creates, works, and is being present at an optimal level.”
The Life Wellness Portfolio program, initially launched as a pilot program, takes a holistic health and wellness inventory with a balance-sheet model that reflects what supports and hinders one’s health across six domains: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual and environmental.
It also includes a clinical assessment and care program that focuses on supporting neurologic health and integrity, and offers connections to doctors of chiropractic, health coaches, fitness trainers and others.
Cecelia Wagoner, executive director of corporate and community health at WellStar Health System, believes it is important for employers to support employees in finding work/life balance. This past year, it launched its HealthStart program, which saw 33 percent enrollment.
“Corporate wellness is very important to this equation,” Wagoner said. “This is one of the main reasons why (we) made the decision to invest in wellness. It is an investment in each team member’s health and well-being.”
WellStar HealthStart program includes health assessments, biometric screenings, health coaching and incentives to encourage participation.
“Our team members feel valued and appreciated by the organization,” Wagoner said. “The program provides each team member the tools and equipment to support them on their personal wellness journey.”
Michael J. Pallerino has reported on business news for magazines and newspapers in the Atlanta area for more than 20 years.