Workplace wellness programs; do they really work?

18 May 2016

Due in part to active promoting by the government, workplace wellness programs have gained
increased popularity amongst many industries. Consisting of policies and activities geared towards
facilitating employee health, these programs are are also regarded as "corporate wellbeing" and aimed
at ensuring good health status and health behavior of employees at work places in various

Wellness programs often consist of screening activities for identifying health risks and intervention
activities to lower health risks and enhance healthier lifestyles. While such programs can vary from
company to company, here are some commonly seen initiatives:

o Providing healthier lunch options for workers
o Allocating time for exercises and fitness programs in workplaces.
o Medical screenings
o Health talks
o Provision of financial incentives for participation in wellness programs
o Rejuvenation programs such as nap-breaks and company vacations


What are the benefits of such workplace wellness programs?

1. For many organisations, workplace wellness programs are in place to ensure better and
healthier workers. These programs reduce the chances of absenteeism of workers due to
health malfunctioning.

2. Workplace wellness programs (especially body fitness programs) provide a recreational
platform among co-workers. During such programs, employees have the chance to interact
and know their colleagues better.

3. For employees, corporate wellbeing programs help kickstart their goal of getting healthier, not
only for the purpose of office work but also to enjoy quality moments with their loved ones. With
lesser health issues often results in a fuller and more enriching life.


But do they really work?

The debate as to whether workplace wellness programs bring quantifiable benefits is still on-going, due
to the difficulty of getting an accurate view of its direct implications. On one hand, making an assertion
that workplace wellness programs do not work is a step too far. While on the other hand, asserting that
the programs have fully improved the health status of employees is controversial.

Criticisms have been leveled against many vendors' research as some of their studies on wellness
program do not cut across all denominations. These studies are one-sided because more attention is
channeled to those participating in wellness program, while non-participants are neglected.

To conclude, regardless of the health benefits such programs bring to employees, such programs often
do bring about an undeniable morale boost to the work environment and promote greater cohesiveness
to employees. That is probably enough to justify its importance in our modern workplace

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