Unhealthy lifestyles can be very costly to organizations and, more importantly, to employees. There's plenty of evidence and reminders that health care costs have risen sharply, and aside from salaries, the cost of care is likely the next highest expense for most organizations and companies. Choosing the best methods to optimize your care at work is an incredibly complex issue; however, by choosing the right programs and services to meet your employees' needs and your company's needs, you can mitigate the cost of care while also providing an incredibly satisfying opportunity to help your employees improve their health.
To combat rising health care costs and to improve employee health, worksite wellness is a smart investment, displayed by these key points:
? Comprehensive reviews show that worksite health promotion programs improve health knowledge and behavior and help identify underlying health conditions that impact work.
? Studies point to targeted intervention programs at the worksite greatly reducing the impact of chronic disease and the costs associated with chronic disease. In one study, lifestyle intervention programs at work for persons with high risk for type II diabetes had a greater success than pharmaceutical treatment alone (58 percent reduction opposed to 31 percent reduction). More importantly, disease management intervention programs typically show a return-on-investment between $7 and $10, in one year. Finally, programs to target self-care or decision support (typically called "demand management" programs), can yield a $3 to $6 return on investment for each dollar invested.
? Workplace programs show cost savings. Studies show the yield for a quality worksite wellness program is between $3 and $6 for each dollar invested in 2 to 5 years of the program. Moreover, if you combine the medical savings (typically, between $3 to $4 per dollar invested in the program) and the cost of time away from work (absenteeism, typically around $5 to $7, for every dollar invested in the program), a worksite health promotion and wellness program increases the return on the value.
It is data like this that affirms worksite wellness is more important than ever.
Finding the best programs, services, and experts to help you grow your program is critical. From wellness policy recommendations, to using incentives to enhance program participation and cost savings, navigating the many paths to success can be made easier through community connections. The Central Wisconsin Worksite Wellness Network provides these opportunities to meet employers and experts in the field. All are invited to be a part of this free networking group. The next meeting is at 8 a.m. on Sept. 10 at NewPage Stevens Point mill. To register and to view a copy of the Central Wisconsin Worksite Wellness Network Resource Guide, visit www.portagecountyCAN.org.