There are many options to consider around what kinds of health and wellness services to offer to employees. You could build a gym or pool, bring in a masseuse, staff an on-site clinic, offer yoga classes, provide risk screenings… One of the greatest things to understand in this regard is you can always start small and expand once you start seeing returns such as increased employee satisfaction and productivity. We’ve covered a few options below in order to help get you started.
The National Association of Worksite Health Centers defines an onsite clinic as a setting where an employer offers one or more medical and wellness services, delivered by licensed providers, to all or a designated portion of its employees and their dependents. These employer-provided clinics are typically either within the workplace (onsite) or very easily accessible within a close range to the workplace (near-site). In the beginning, onsite clinics were formed to provide first aid for on-the-job injuries or emergencies. Many onsite clinics today have expanded into becoming a primary form of care, offering everything from health screenings to condition management and prescriptions.
Employees who are offered access to onsite clinics are able to see their providers more regularly because of their close proximity to work and lower wait times. These clinics are designed with the value of care and cost-savings in mind for both the employer and employee, so even as a patient receiving higher quality, more frequent, preventative care, employees will also be saving money compared to most traditional healthcare options.
An onsite clinic fits well into an overall focus on employee health and wellness as it provides a consistent means to educate employees on their health through free health risk assessment screenings and educational fairs or presentations. It is also an excellent benefit to highlight when recruiting. A Paladina Health study found that when incorporating an onsite clinic, companies saw a 59% increase in attraction and retention of employees.
Learn more about onsite clinics with our Ultimate Guide to Onsite Clinics – get it here.
Employee wellness covers many aspects of an individual’s complete health outlook such as ability to eat well, get enough rest, be physically fit and comfortable, be aware of warning signs for health issues, and more. It’s highly beneficial to an employer to ensure employees are able to focus on their physical and mental wellbeing. The American Journal of Health Promotion found 25% lower sick leave and health plan costs and a 32% decrease in workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs among companies that offered wellness programs to their employees.
When it comes to workplace wellness programs, there is a massively wide variety of offerings focused on different ways to help employees become and remain active, healthy, and happy. Some companies get really creative and have a lot of fun with these programs. For instance, e-commerce giant Zappos addresses the importance of getting enough rest by offering a nap room called Sleeping with the Fishes that includes an aquarium and top-of-the-line massage chairs that lay all the way flat so you can stare up at the fish as you doze off. Centro offers onsite yoga and 10 “Ferris Bueller days”, meaning employees can play hooky on those days with no questions asked.
Because wellness offerings and ideas vary so widely, it can be hard to know where to start. Laura Linnan, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and head of the former CDC-funded Workplace Health Research Network, created a set of guidelines for creating a comprehensive wellness program.
- Provide employees with practical and accessible programs
- Have a health-conscious work environment
- Integrate wellness into the company structure
- Link wellness to existing support programs
- Offer health screenings and education
It can be difficult for full-time employees to find time and energy to focus on their fitness. 86% of American workers sit all day at their job. Add to that the average work commute (just under 30 minutes each direction) plus the amount of time people spend sitting once they are home and it averages out to about 12 hours of sitting per day. People who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40 percent increased risk of death in the next three years.
It’s worth it to your company to help your employees make fitness and movement a priority, not only to keep them around, but also to help them improve their ability to perform their work. A study of 200 workers discovered a 15% performance boost when an employee exercised for 30-60 minutes a day. 6 out of 10 workers said their time management skills, mental performance, and ability to meet deadlines improved on days when they exercised.
A HealthFitness survey heard from 92% of company HR leaders that their fitness centers helped their organization stay competitive in a difficult hiring environment. They also found that 40-45% of employees who are offered fitness facility access choose to participate largely due to convenience, an inviting environment, and low to no-cost membership.
Providing fitness options doesn’t necessarily mean building a giant gymnasium filled with the highest quality equipment and expert trainers in the middle of the office. But that certainly isn’t a bad idea if you have the funds and space. The Council on Foreign Relations offers an annual ping-pong tournament and stairwell scavenger hunts to help their employees get moving. An additional idea could be bringing in a yoga instructor (or finding one amongst your employee ranks) and pushing a few desks aside to offer yoga classes to employees. Another thought is providing a steps competition or Fitbit race where employees use an app on their phone or wearable devices to track their movements and compete against each other for the most steps within the competition timeline. An even simpler option is to provide a stipend to cover the monthly costs to employees that would like to utilize their own choice of fitness facility.