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Healthcare costs are on a steady rise, along with the rising prices of every other commodity. So if looking at it purely from this perspective, it would appear as if wellness programs would be an added expenditure to an already rising healthcare bill for employees. But is that the case?

Employee Wellness Programs

It doesn’t just mean the physical when we talk of employee wellness. Though physical health does play a massive role in overall wellness, it also means your employees’ emotional and mental well-being. One can argue that if someone’s mental health is suffering, their physical health follows and vice versa. 

Employee wellness programs are one good way of addressing employees’ overall health. An employee wellness program is an employer-sponsored program that aims to help its employees. In some cases, their families develop and maintain healthy habits that reduce the risk of long-term or chronic illness. Apart from ensuring the employees’ overall health, the main goal is to protect the company’s bottom line. 

The Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs

Wellness programs benefit the employees and the companies that offer them. Some companies are even modifying their wellness programs to ensure a healthy workplace culture, addressing the stresses of the daily grind that could sometimes cause employee burnout. Below are other benefits of putting wellness programs in place:

Employee retention

Some companies implement wellness programs to improve employee experience, thereby playing a role in employee retention. Having healthy “perks” can be seen by employees as their company cares about their well-being. This fosters loyalty and can positively affect talent retention within the company. 

Healthier employees

The health and well-being of everyone in the company are of great importance. No one wants an unhealthy employee base as this can cause more absenteeism and can contribute to toxic work culture. Employee wellness programs help employees develop healthier habits. Some programs even help employees quit smoking and temper their drinking. Wellness programs teach employees how to build healthier habits and make healthier choices for themselves. 

Cost savings

Having wellness programs in place contributes to cost savings, thereby helping preserve the company’s bottom line. How? By lowering healthcare expenses. A Harvard study found that wellness programs save companies around $3 in healthcare costs and $3 in absenteeism. Of course, the better your wellness program is, the higher the cost savings. Another study conducted by RAND discovered that employee wellness programs that address how employees manage chronic illness save a company $3.78 for every dollar invested into the program. 

Improve productivity

Putting in place an effective wellness program for employees can positively impact productivity. When employees are mentally and physically healthy, their bodies produce happy hormones that help improve their mood and help them focus on their work. This is why some managers encourage walking meetings instead of sitting around in a conference room. Walking gets the blood flowing, the lungs working, and those endorphins rushing, making for more fun and productive meeting. 

Reduced absenteeism

Healthier employees mean fewer employees are taking sick days. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking sick days when you need them. But wellness programs help address the health of employees. Programs that promote healthy lifestyles in employees can help them develop healthy habits that reduce the number of sick days they take. 

Some Examples of Wellness Programs

Gym access or gym memberships

Some companies partner with gyms close to the workplace to get their employees membership. Keeping physically fit contributes positively to almost every aspect of a person’s well-being. This encourages employees to stay physically active without worrying about paying for a gym membership. Some companies even go so far as to build their in-office gym. These are usually rooms with weight machines found within office premises, so employees don’t have to go outside to work out. Instead, they can make working out part of their workday. 

Fitness challenges

Some years back, weight loss challenges were all the hype. It got so big that companies started adopting the same challenges in their wellness programs. These challenges have a duration where employees can healthily lose their unhealthy weight. Often the guidelines include a diet and exercise program. The person who has lost the most weight or has come closest to normal BMI is the winner. 

Sports teams

For the more sports-oriented employees, perhaps the most effective wellness program for them is the creation of sports teams. Sports are fun to get enough physical activity while encouraging discipline and sportsmanship. Healthy competition between sports teams from different companies can even help companies and employees broaden their network. 

Wellness workshops

Inviting wellness experts and doctors to discuss physical and mental health is an excellent way of arming employees with the knowledge of getting themselves on the road to a healthier version of themselves. Workshops allow employees to ask their questions about health from actual professionals who will not feed them unsubstantiated information. They can also use these workshops to work with experts to map out their training regimen or modify their diets to suit their body’s needs. 


Wellness programs serve to improve not only the employees’ lives but can also help companies preserve their bottom line. These programs can contribute to cost savings, employee retention, improved productivity, and better office culture.

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