Americans are known for their hard work and perseverance. An average American works more than those in other countries. American work culture often make people in other countries scratch their heads. According to a 2013 study by the International Labor Organization, 85.8 percent of American men and 66.5 percent of American women work more than 40 hours per week. They work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. Workplaces around the world has shunned this American ‘work culture’.
Rigorous American work routines often reveal themselves in employees, in form of mental and physical health issues. That is one of the major reasons you can find many Americans as overweight, over-stressed, and out of shape. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 60 percent of employees do not get adequate exercise. According to another survey, carried out by Lyra Health in association with National Alliance, it was found that nearly 83 percent of American workers are experiencing mental health problems. The research also found out that worry and fear are also pervasive among U.S. workers, with two-thirds stating that they are insecure about their or their family’s future. More so, the study found that 43 percent feel sad, 36 percent feel angry, and 30 percent are experiencing significant levels of anxiety and stress that interfere with their work. 40 percent of workers don’t believe their employer cares about their mental health, beyond just being productive at their job.
It’s a proven fact that healthy workers cost much less than unhealthy workers. According to recent research from the University of Michigan, employers who prioritize fitness can save an average of $1,100 per year for each employee who quits smoking, $1,200 per year for employees who lower their cholesterol levels from 240 to 190 mg, and $177 per year for each employee who loses enough weight to move from obesity (more than 30 pounds overweight) to a healthy weight. As a result, workplace wellness programs are more important than ever. But what exactly is corporate fitness?
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According to an article in the December 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Corporate fitness or workplace wellness is defined as an organized program that a company initiates for its employees to help reduce health risks, enhance personal effectiveness, and to improve the quality of life. The concept has been around since 1979 when Johnson & Johnson launched the first acknowledged program. Corporate fitness activities are usually implemented to keep staff healthy, enhance morale, and help businesses succeed in the long run.
Other than that, corporate wellness programs are intended to promote and support a comprehensive approach to employee well-being by fostering a healthy corporate culture. Offering a corporate wellness solution that goes beyond typical wellness programs encourages healthy habits and improves health outcomes, all while enhancing productivity, maximizing human resource investments, and increasing employee engagement.
There are many benefits of corporate fitness programme for both employers and employees. Here are a few of them.
It's only natural that healthy employees miss fewer days of work. The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, for example, reported that lost workdays had decreased by 80% and modified-duty days had decreased by 64% within six years of establishing an employee health and well-being department. The Center's cost savings totaled $1.5 million when the reduction in lost workdays was multiplied by typical pay rates.
When Nelnet, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based lending corporation that handles student loan administration and repayment, asked their workers what they will miss the most during leaving interviews, the top response is often Nelnet's wellness program.
According to research, companies with a corporate fitness program retain their staff for longer. According to a survey done by the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson, companies with wellness programs have lower voluntary turnover rates than those without. The Biltmore tourism organization, for example, reported a reduction in employee turnover from 19% in 2005 to 9% in 2009 after implementing an employee wellness program. Employees are grateful for their efforts.
According to the February 2011 issue of Harvard Men's Health, exercise can both exhilarate and calm people. It can help to alleviate depression and stress. Clinical findings also reveal that people sleep better after exercising and can improve their cholesterol and blood pressure by sticking to a regular exercise routine.
Participating in an employee fitness program leads to a stronger sense of workplace collaboration. Employees who work out together get to know each other better. Any fitness or weight-loss program benefits from social support, and when your co-workers are on board, you can support each other's efforts and hold each other accountable. Workers get to communicate with one another in an environment free of the pressures of work and have talks they might not have had otherwise. These interactions contribute to the development of a cooperative company culture, which can result in enhanced employee loyalty and overall goodwill.
Investing in corporate wellness programs may prove better for your company in the long run. Researchers from Harvard published an extensive summary from 22 different studies over 3 years and found that for every $1 that was spent on a wellness program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs. The University of Michigan also suggests that employers save $1100-$1200 per annum if employees are fit and their cholesterol is managed.
The Lyra Health survey points out the effect of the Pandemic on the American workforce are wide-ranging. If unaddressed it can have major financial consequences for both employees and employers. 38 percent of U.S. workers say their mental health issues in recent months have prompted them to consider a complete career shift, with those who don't believe their workplace supports their mental health being the most likely to do so.
Workers' capacity to focus and be productive has deteriorated due to the pandemic. They had to deal with challenges such as financial stress, relational stress, and burnout. Sixty-five percent of employees said mental health concerns have a direct influence on their ability to work, and twenty-four percent said the impact is considerable or extreme. Furthermore, 40% of respondents say they are entirely burned out, and 60% believe financial stress is having a severe influence on their mental health. This points out the urgent need for a corporate fitness program for companies.
The main task of a corporate fitness program is to promote physical fitness and programs and solve various workplace health risks arising from the consumption of unhealthy food and drinks, stress, lack of physical activity, and more. The end goal is to cultivate a health-conscious workspace.
It becomes important for a company to provide a corporate wellness solution that is not limited by traditional wellness program barriers, as well as fostering healthy habits, improves various health outcomes while increasing productivity and employee engagement.
Corporate wellness programs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the company. Some employers may provide health insurance for their employees, while others may go a step further and establish office gym. Corporate fitness programs can also be modified to meet the needs, size, and budget of a company.
Here is the complete guide to establishing a Corporate Fitness Programme for your company.
Before you set up a corporate fitness program, it’s important to conduct employee health surveys to evaluate the personal wellness interests and needs of employees. This information will enable the employer to design programs and services that are most beneficial to both the employer and the employee. You might also have to do a health risk assessment as assessing the health of the workforce will help determine which programs to implement.
After assessing health risks, the next step is to set up an internal, employee-driven committee to assist promote and sustaining a wellness culture in the organization. This group will assist the wellness program in gaining organizational support and effectiveness. Employers should solicit committee members by invitation or ask for volunteers, ensuring there is cross-sectional representation, such as members from the top management, the HR department, information technology, communications/marketing, and the health and safety department; union representatives; and employees interested in health and wellness.
Now, we know that the key goal of a corporate fitness program is to improve workers' health and thereby reduce health care costs. Other goals may include reducing absenteeism, boosting worker productivity, and increasing retention. Goals and objectives are statements of broad, long-term accomplishments expected from the program. Each goal has one or more objectives to ensure that the goal will be accomplished. Objectives should be clear, time-limited, and stated in such a way that it is easy to determine whether they have been achieved.
To create a corporate fitness program, you must first create a budget. The initiative will fail if it does not receive funds. When putting out a wellness budget, companies have to consider the costs of incentives, promotion, and program design. Make sure to spare budget for screening vendors, incentives for participation, promotional materials, etc.
Your company can collaborate with a gym or fitness chain or instructor to help you run the fitness program for your company. You may be offered discounted membership fees. They can offer customized workout sessions and meal programs. You can also take the help of fitness management software for live classes (if it is work from home). The software or a virtual platform can also help employers monitor and track their employee’s wellbeing. Similarly, as software is subscription-based it is often more affordable and reasonable per person than a monthly or annual gym membership.
Hence, this way you can set up a corporate fitness program for your company. The modern-day work environment- with its long periods of sitting, quick takeout meals, and computer screen eye strain- isn’t constructive to either the mental or the physical well-being of your employees. Hence, to improve the overall productivity of your employees and help them stay in better health, you can surely look for a corporate fitness program.
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