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Survey and Research Data

Wellness Programmes Brought Superior Performance

The 2007-2008 Staying@Work Report, involving 355 large employers from North America, revealed that employers with highly effective health and productivity programmes experienced superior performance. Among the benefi ts were:

  • 20% more revenue per employee
  • 6.1% higher market value
  • 57% higher shareholder returns.

In addition, these employers also enjoyed costs that were:

  • five times lower for sick leave
  • four-and-a-half times lower for long-term disability
  • four times lower for short-term disability, and
  • three-and- a-half times lower for general health coverage. [1]

Wellness Programme Combats Sick Leave

Various United Kingdom surveys concerning workplace well-being programmes have reported the following:

  • A 2008 CBI/AXA survey revealed that absence from work cost United Kingdom businesses £13.2 billion in 2007, with employees taking an average of seven sick days off work per year.
  • A PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 55 companies with a wellness programme revealed that 80 per cent had reduced sickness absence; 32 per cent had cut staff turnover; and, 18 per cent had raised productivity.
  • The National Audit Offi ce reported that obesity costs England alone 18 million sick days and 30,000 deaths per year; according to Foresight, the government think tank, this amounted to some £2.6 billion in lost earnings.
  • According to a November 2007 survey by contract caterer BaxterStorey, poor eating habits, e.g. having no breakfast or lunch, led to a productivity loss of 97 million working days, worth £16.85 billion a year. [9]

Wellness Programmes Reduce Health Care Costs

A 2007 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services estimated that for every 100 employees from all United States organisations:

  • 44 suffered from stress
  • 38 were overweight
  • 31 use alcohol excessively
  • 30 have high cholesterol
  • 26 had high blood pressure
  • 25 had cardiovascular disease
  • 24 did not exercise
  • 21 were smokers
  • 12 were asthmatic
  • 6 were diabetic.

According to Health & Economic Implications of Worksite Wellness Programs, a report from the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, employees with fi ve or more of these risk factors generated almost three times more healthrelated costs than employees having one to two risk factors. According to the 2010 Health Care Cost Survey undertaken by Towers and Watson, organisations that had implemented high-performing corporate wellness programmes had annual health care costs US$1,800 less per employee than organisations without such programmes. [10]

Wellness Programmes Becoming More Popular

A global survey of health promotion and workplace wellness strategies, conducted by Buck Consultants and involving 600 organizations in 25 countries, indicated that:

  • Workplace wellness strategies were rapidly growing in popularity; 40 per cent of employers surveyed in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and 82 per cent in North America, offered wellness programmes.
  • The fastest-growing components of global wellness initiatives included Web portals, online programs, personal health records, health fairs, healthy vending machine food choices, and workplace health competitions.
  • Business objectives reported were health care cost reduction (USA); improving productivity (Canada); improving workforce morale (Europe); reducing employee absence (Asia and Africa).
  • US respondents spent $145 per employee per year on wellness incentive rewards, with 12 per cent spending more than $500 per employee per year. Only 19 per cent of respondents rated their incentive rewards as “extremely effective” or “significantly effective” at changing employee behaviour. [11]

Wellness Programmes: Top Ten Risk Factors

A 2010 global wellness survey conducted by Buck Consultants reported that the following top ten risk factors drove organisational wellness programmes “very significantly”:

  • stress (45%)
  • work life issues (39%)
  • depression (31%)
  • physical activity/exercise (22%)
  • nutrition/healthy eating (18%)
  • workplace safety (17%)
  • psychosocial work environment (15%)
  • sleep/rest/recovery (13%)
  • chronic disease (11%).

The following top ten wellness programme strategies were also reported:

  • employee assistance programme (94%)
  • flu shots (81%)
  • gym discounts (57%)
  • health portal/website (54%)
  • executive screening programmes (54%)
  • occupational health programmes (49%)
  • healthy lifestyle classes (44%)
  • company sports teams (44%)
  • personal health coaching (40%)
  • caregiver support (40%). [12]

Wellness Programmes: Participation Growing

A 2009 MetLife survey about wellness programmes, involving 1,305 respondents, reported that:

  • 81% believed that health and wellness programmes would improve their productivity.
  • 82% stated that work/life balance programmes would improve their productivity.
  • 37% of employees strongly believed that the benefi ts they received at work enabled them to worry less about unexpected health/fi nancial issues. This increased to 66% for employees that were very satisfi ed with their employers’ benefi ts.
  • 37% of employers offered wellness programmes, up from 33% in 2008 and 27% in 2005. Among employers with 500 or more employees, 61% now offer a wellness programme, up from 57% in 2008 and 46% in 2005.
  • 57% of employees with access to a wellness programme now say they participate, compared to 46% in 2008. 71% of employees who participated in wellness programmes said they greatly value the offering. [13]


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