What Are Wellness Programs?
Wellness programs are organized and coordinated programs that have the goal of enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional status of individuals. Depending on the setting, a wellness health plan may also address spiritual and vocational well-being. Wellness plans are created for use by an individual at home, for employees in a work situation, or for members of a club, organization, or faith-based institution.
One of the more common types of wellness programs in use today is an employee wellness program. In this scenario, the program seeks to provide each employee with access to competent medical care, cultivate a lifestyle that includes proper exercise and diet, and cultivate a positive mental outlook. A fully functional worksite wellness incentive helps to minimize tensions in the workplace, create more of a team spirit among employees and also enhance productivity while reducing absenteeism.
Along with corporate wellness programs, other types of organizations may also implement wellness programs that cater to a specific group or constituency within the wider community. For example, senior centers may create and offer wellness programs that contain many of the same elements found in an employee health and wellness program. Within this setting, the goal is to encourage physical and mental activity among the people who use the centers on a regular basis. This may take the form of offering physical education classes, activities that challenge and exercise cognition and in general encourage good health.
Community clubs and faith-based institutions often support wellness programs that focus on subsets of their members. Along with providing physical outlets such as walking, bicycling, or swimming, there are usually activities designed to promote social interaction, challenge the mind, and in general support wholeness of the entire person. Faith-based institutions usually include counseling and similar ministries that can help people move through challenging life events, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, or recovery from a life threatening illness.
While many people think of a wellness program as centering around insurance coverage, that is not always the case. Corporate wellness programs do usually include access to group policies that are offered to employees at no charge or at rates that would be impossible to obtain with personal health coverage. However, just about any program for wellness will focus on taking a proactive approach to good health, helping people to avoid many types of physical and emotional ailments. At the same time, programs of this type also provide reactive assistance when unanticipated circumstances do occur. For example, if an employee develops diabetes, then they will be able to learn more about how to control type 2 diabetes with their diet through a wellness program.
Mutsy-I have seen worksite wellness programs instituted with respect to hiring practices.
For example, a hospital in the northeast fired all of its employees that smoked and vowed not to hire anymore and make that a condition upon employment.
Many companies are moving in this direction because companies know that smokers face a higher mortality rate than non smokers and they also experience more health related ailments than non smokers.
Critics say that it will be a matter of time before overweight and obese people are profiled in this manner because they also face additional health risks because of their excess weight.
SurfNTurf-Some company wellness programs involve free psychological therapy. Often companies will include a confidential toll free number that employees can call in case they are experiencing anxiety or prolonged stress even if the problems are not directly related to their job.
Employer wellness programs however have to reward the employee that changes their lifestyle. They should not be punished for not reaching a certain goal.
For example, a company should offer wellness program benefits like gym memberships but they should never attach at specific weight loss goal in order to continue to receive the benefit because some people may have difficulty losing weight based on thyroid issues or medication that they have to take that makes it difficult for them to lose weight.
I think that wellness incentive programs that offer free gym benefits for all employees regardless of the amount of times that they go is better than expecting the employee to lose weight.
Sometimes the benefits of exercise include a relaxed frame of mind without attaching a goal to it.
Workplace wellness programs often involve an onsite gym. Employer wellness programs also include discount at offsite gyms and might even include partnerships with the Weight Watchers organization.
In these cases Weight Watchers would conduct weekly meetings at the worksite and the employees would receive a discount towards their membership.
Many companies invest in different employee wellness programs ideas like this in order to ensure that their employees maintain a healthy lifestyle so that not only would the health insurance premiums be less, but the employees would remain a higher level of productivity.
Fitness wellness programs also help the employees ease stress which allows them to perform better on the job.
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