Savings or Extra Costs?
When it comes to money, there are both pros and cons to setting up employee wellness programs. Of course, such a program will require a financial investment. Depending on what benefits your program will include, your initial costs can vary greatly. There will also be costs involved with maintaining the initiative.
Wellness programs may be comprised of any or all of the following elements: screenings and assessments; groups, classes and workshops; newsletters and other media; healthy food choices on hand, such as in vending machines or the employee break room; and the availability of exercise programs or equipment either on site or at little to no cost for employees.
Depending on the size of your business, you might need to create a new position just to oversee this program. Therefore, it is essential that you take a good, hard look at your budget and the needs of your employees prior to working on plans for a wellness program.
On the other hand, launching a wellness program can also save your business big bucks. For example, a study published in the February 2008 edition of the "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine" reported that one company obtained a $1.65 return on investment for every dollar spent on their wellness program over a four year period.
Paid sick leave and the use of temporary employment to cover staff members who are out due to illness can cost your business thousands of dollars. Employees who take part in the program can lower their BMI, cholesterol levels and risk of related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. They can stop smoking, reduce stress and discover health issues earlier through provided screenings. All of these factors will lead to employers with improved overall health, which means fewer sick days and increased productivity.