About Worksite Wellness
The workplace is an important setting for health protection, health promotion and disease prevention programs. On average, Americans working full-time spend more than one-third of their day, five days per week, at the workplace (CDC, Workplace Health Promotion May 13, 2016). While employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and hazard-free workplace, they also have abundant opportunities to promote individual health and foster a healthy work environment for more than 159 million workers in the United States (Accessed US Bureau of Labor Statistics April 12, 2016).
Worksite wellness interventions may be comprised of health education classes, subsidized use of fitness facilities, policies that promote healthy behavior and any other systems, policies or environmental supports that positively affect the health of employees. The WorkWell Missouri initiative aims to encourage and support worksites in implementing successful evidence-based interventions statewide. The objective of this initiative for MU Extension faculty is to help employers create environmental changes and worksite policies making it easy for employees to make voluntary health behavior changes related to nutrition and physical activity.
The return-on-investment for establishing wellness programs in the workplace can be significant. Worksite wellness programs can help lower employers’ direct costs, such as health care expenditure and worker’s compensation claims. They can also positively impact many indirect costs, such as absenteeism and productivity. Find out more about cost savings by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Workplace Health Promotion website.
Worksite wellness extends beyond the walls of the worksite. Families and communities also benefit from health behavior changes, modeled by employees, which reduce the risk of disease and injury. Worksite wellness programs are designed to link employees to surrounding community supports that encourage healthy behaviors and safety of all employees and their families.