Workers see benefits in office wellness programs

By BenefitsPro


By Paula Aven Gladych

According to the Principal Financial "Well-Being Index: American Workers," 62 percent of workers believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health and reducing health risks, up from 55 percent in 2011.

By taking advantage of workplace wellness offerings, American employees are approaching their work with more energy and motivation. Fifty-one percent of program participants feel wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and another 59 percent of program participants say they have more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in employer-sponsored wellness programs.

“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”

Nearly half (45 percent) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40 percent in 2011. Additionally, 43 percent of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up eight percent from 2011.Despite the apparent benefits, about one-third (34 percent) of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by their employers.

Employers are offering new ways to encourage employees to participate in a wellness program, including encouragement by management, 20 percent, lower health insurance costs to those who participate, 20 percent, or allotted time for participation during the workday, 20 percent. Thirty-six percent say their employers do not offer any encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, a significant divergence from the previous three years, when about half of participants said their employers did nothing to encourage wellness program participation.

Participants also cited an increase in the following employer incentives:
  • Seventeen percent say their employer offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account, up from 9 percent the previous year;
  • Sixteen percent say their employer provides other financial incentives such as gift certificates or discounts for those who participate, up from 12 percent the previous year;
  • And 10 percent report that their employer rewards additional paid time off from work to participants, up from 6 percent the previous year.
The survey was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 2012, among 1,103 employees.

The Principal Financial Group is a global investment management company offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com