What is a Wellness Plan?

Ken Black

A wellness plan commonly refers to a policy implemented by an employer to encourage healthy lifestyles among its employees. Although the policy may be considered an added expense to the company, the beneficial return may more than counteract the cost. The success of the plan depends on how well it is organized, and the degree to which employees make use of it. Much of the plan will be voluntary, but there could be some incentives added to encourage participation.

Wellness plans can lead to happier employees.
Wellness plans can lead to happier employees.

Any wellness plan will look at the overall health benefits and problems within an organization. This will involve not only a careful review of claims, but also talking with employees, perhaps sending out a survey and talking with supervisors about common problems they see. This data can be collected and used to come up with solutions that combat problem areas, thus leading to an overall higher quality of life and health for the organization's workers.

A wellness plan typically includes some type of exercise component.
A wellness plan typically includes some type of exercise component.

The main benefit of a corporate wellness plan is in the area of production. Employees who are happy and healthy tend to miss less work, and perform better when they are at work. Thus, a successful plan may not only make the employee healthier, but also the company as a whole.

Going out and socializing can help a person's mental wellness.
Going out and socializing can help a person's mental wellness.

Though health club memberships, or on-site exercise facilities, are not a mandatory part of creating a good wellness plan, many companies choose to offer these benefits. These organization may sponsor an employee's health club membership to a certain amount, making it cheaper for the employee. Others will offer on-site exercise rooms for employees to use on their breaks, lunch hours, or before and after work.

Health detections and screenings can be a part of an employee wellness plan.
Health detections and screenings can be a part of an employee wellness plan.

Some organizations will even limit what is offered in company vending machines as part of a corporate wellness plan. Though the revenue may drop if candy bars and chips are not offered, this is considered an investment in the future. Replacing such items with healthier snack foods will also help encourage those who want to fully participate in the wellness plan.

A wellness plan can help people meet their health goals.
A wellness plan can help people meet their health goals.

Health detections and screenings can also be a part of an employee wellness plan. Screenings may be done very simply as surveys. Employees will answer health-related questions, either online, or by paper form, indicating their preferences and habits. Those are then assessed for certain risks and feedback is provided to the employee. Screenings, such as mobile stroke detection and blood pressure monitoring, can also be done, often right on site. This provides a very convenient option. Though there could be a cost to the employee, much of that may be picked up by the employer.

Some wellness plans are geared toward promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children.
Some wellness plans are geared toward promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children.

Companies that want to begin a health plan should check with their health plan insurance provider. Often, these organizations will have consultants on staff who can help devise a plan, simply because it also benefits them if there are fewer claims to process. If an insurance company does not offer that service, private consultants can also be contracted to help come up with a comprehensive solution.

Proper nutrition is often part of a wellness plan.
Proper nutrition is often part of a wellness plan.

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Discussion Comments

Drentel

Wouldn't it be perfect if every workplace had a wellness plan for every employee, and everyone took advantage of the programs the companies offered? Unfortunately, in the real world that is not how things work.

The only sure way to know you are going to have a healthy lifestyle program in place is to develop a personal wellness plan of your own. Come up with a logical plan that you can stick to. Make it tough enough to do some good and not so tough that you can't stick with it.

Animandel

I work in the health profession, so you would think I and the people I work with would be strong proponents of taking care of ourselves by maintaining healthy weights, eating fruits and vegetables, staying away from man-made sugars and salty foods and exercising regularly. Yes, you would think that.

The truth is we were in no better shape in terms of health than the general population. Having someone take you seriously when you are counseling them on the benefits of exercise and weight management is not as likely when they can see that you have not been taking your own advice.

With this in mind, our workplace developed a wellness program for all the employees. One of the most popular parts of the program has been the opening of an employee and family workout center on site. This is a great place to exercise and get to know your coworkers. So far, the company wellness plan is reaping benefits for the employees and the patients who we counsel.

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