workplace wellness
workplace wellness

Workplace Wellness Fails: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

It’s a common understanding that your degree of health will affect your daily life. lf you are healthy, then all is well. If you are unhealthy, then your daily activities will be affected. For most adults, the majority of their day is spent at work, and so it is not a stretch of the imagination to assume that being ill will affect the quality or level of work that you do, and raise costs for both you and your boss. This, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is the basis for the introduction of wellness programs in the workplace. A wellness program is a health promotion activity or organization-wide policy designed to support healthy behavior and improve health outcomes while at work.

While workplace wellness programs are beneficial  to both employee and employer, poorly designed programs can cause misunderstandings about the program’s intention and leave an entire workforce unhappy and unsatisfied. Matthew Woessner, an employee at a University,  was instructed by his employer to take a Health Risk Assessment online questionnaire, and if he refused, his pay would be docked  $1,200. With a threat so blatant, and it is most certainly a threat, in a world where jobs are difficult to come by and almost as difficult to keep, what choice does the employer leave the employee? Here are 7 mistakes that employers should avoid when implementing workplace wellness programs.

  1. Your employee should not get the impression that you think he is an idiot. For example, you know that smoking is bad for you. Your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, aunt and any other relative you wish to mention knows that smoking is bad for you, too. Don’t tell your employee that smoking is bad, and force them to quit. It’s better to encourage employees, within the confines of the program, to make the right decision.
  2. Believing that the money spent on the wellness program will somehow make its way back to you by way of savings on employee health care premiums and unused sick days. Implementing a wellness program is an investment in your employees’ lives and health. If it is thought of as anything other than that, then disappointment is sure to follow.
  3. Controlling employees’ salary through these programs. All employers will effectively alienate their employees and breed discontent in the workplace.
  4. Leaving employees out of the solution. Based on the CDC’s definition, a good wellness program is designed around the employee. If the program is not designed as such, and does not take the employees into consideration, then it will go awry faster than you can imagine.
  5. Designing a program that does not engage the employees will not be successful. Corporate wellness shouldn’t be boring. Your business needs to create unique and dynamic programs that consistently change over time, ensuring the best possibility of long-term success.
  6. Believing that implementing a wellness program is a short-term gig. It is not. In order for the wellness program to achieve what it is meant to achieve, long-term involvement is required. A successful program takes time and constantly evolves so that it can become a part of the company’s culture.
  7. Not understanding that behavior modification is necessary. It is often said that it takes 21 days to build a habit, and even longer to break one – sometimes it’s necessary to enter a program like Utah Recovery Services. Forcing your employee into a wellness program under threat of losing his or her job will not cause lasting change, and may backfire in the long run. In order to implement a beneficial workplace wellness program, your program should contain encouragement, motivation and a willingness to work with employees to achieve their healthiest possible life, so that they can be active contributors in the workforce for many years to come.