Research suggests that health and wellness are closely correlated with overall employee productivity and job satisfaction. Corporate wellness programs have also been proven to have an impact on the bottom line. In fact, a recent study found that companies who employ a wellness strategy have cost savings of approximately $264 per employee. The same study found that employee absenteeism was reduced by 19 percent for those companies with a solid wellness program.

These cost benefits have the attention of today’s organizational leadership, and that’s why many companies are beginning to incorporate wellness programs into their overall corporate strategy. However, an effective wellness program must include more than an info session on healthy habits. It must be comprehensive, flexible, and must fit nicely into the organization’s overall goals. Here are a few of this year’s biggest corporate wellness trends:

Employee Protection & Confidentiality

Recent government regulations have created the need for more confidentiality and employee protection when it comes to the collection and release of health and wellness data. Employers will need to visit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to ensure their strategy aligns with these regulations. Additionally, employers are required to inform wellness participants of how their personal health information will be used. Failure to comply can result in expensive and reputation-altering penalties. Make sure you’ve done your due diligence prior to implementing a program within your workplace.

Maintaining a Positive Office Vibe

Creating a healthy workplace is an obvious part of the wellness initiative, but will take a more prominent seat at the table this year. A healthy work environment can include anything from ergonomic desk configurations, an on-site gym or weight room, the distribution of healthy snacks, or maintaining a sterile environment with regular office cleaning services. The workplace needs to be a place where employees feel comfortable, safe, and able to perform their best work. Do your best to provide this healthy environment as part of your wellness strategy and incorporate this into your overall culture.

Gamification Strategies

Gamification is an up and coming trend for recognition, rewards and wellness. Gamification is best defined as the concept of applying gaming applications to non-game situations in an effort to make things more engaging and fun. Gamification is a modern concept and a great way to excite your employees about healthy habits. There are many tech companies that offer a tracking system disguised as a game. Employees can be rewarded with each “level” of wellness achieved and can enjoy watching their progress. You might consider employing wearable technology to help employees check their progress on a more personal level. This trend is definitely a popular way to generate more awareness of healthy habits in a more universal way.

Promote the Full Package

Overall well-being includes more than just a thin figure and low cholesterol. Today’s wellness experts are placing more emphasis on the overall wellness package which includes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This concept focuses on understanding the intersection between the mind and body and taking steps to keep these two in balance. Effective programs will incorporate pieces of all these elements in their wellness milestones and goals. Many companies employ the use of on-site meditative centers to help employees learn and practice mindfulness at work. Total wellness can include addressing current strains as well as promoting preventative initiatives. This holistic approach can have tremendous benefits for the employee and can also result in tremendous health care savings for the company.

Increase in Time Off

Time off is an essential part of overall wellness. Most employers offer some sort of paid time off, vacation, and holiday packages, but many companies are beginning to increase their limits when it comes to rejuvenation time. Employers are beginning to understand the relationship between a rested employee and workplace productivity and are starting to test the norms with this traditional employee benefit. Young, ambitious start-ups are the leaders in this trend. After careful observation and analysis, many companies admit that employees give their best effort when they are relaxed, rested, and have an appropriate level of work-life balance. This realization is leading to trends like unlimited time off, flex hours, and remote options. This flexibility is definitely something to consider adding to your wellness strategy.

Overall, employee wellness is not something to take lightly. Health is a crucial component of a productive and satisfied workforce and can have a major impact on the bottom line. While starting a new initiative or enhancing an existing program can take time and money, effective programs have seen a major return on investment and an improvement in the overall happiness of their employees.

Author: Victoria Hill studied communication arts and worked with the magazine editorial team in Sydney before joining an art team at another ad agency. She has been writing as a ghostwriter ever since she was in college. Her favorite topics covered human development, business communication, modern and pop art, minimalism, and self-development. This time, she writes for Zealifi, a training and consulting company with a focus on quality service in the hospitality industry.

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