Corporate Health Plan - The Changing Demands for Workplace Wellness in Today's Digital Times

Corporate wellness or Workplace wellness is an organizational policy designed by a corporate to keep their workforce healthy. Today in India, workplace wellness is taking cognizance. From the Indian Police force to corporates and multi-nationals, health and well-being is being addressed by employers in every sector. Employers are now keenly encouraging their employees to implement healthy habits. From onsite fitness gyms to yoga sessions, from weight management to healthy office lunches, from medical checkup camps to wellness talks, corporate health plans are the new mantra to staying fit.

The fast paced lives in cities, the long hours of work and increasing stress levels have been taking a toll on individual health. Companies recognize the fact that a healthy employee both in mind and body is a long-term asset to the company. Performance and efficiency of the employee are directly related to his overall health. Thereby, companies are now getting onboard wellness experts who can provide digitally driven solutions for preventive wellness of their employees.

Why a corporate wellness program/ workplace wellness program for employees? The reason being, a wellness program/plan aims at -
1. Increasing productivity levels - All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Literally. Long hours of work don’t add up to one being indispensable from work. Neither does it increase productivity levels. So companies are now paying heed to contribution and productivity of the employee instead of the number of hours put in at work. Most companies are encouraging their employees to take annual leave to spend time with the family, sometimes even sponsoring these holidays by way of incentives. A 
work-life balance is essential for an efficient employee.

2. Reducing stress levels - Stress is a killer disease. Today lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension are on account of to increasing stress levels due to the imbalance in one’s life style.

3. Controlling absenteeism - An absent employee means lesser productivity for the company. So to have lesser absenteeism, employers are taking upon themselves to maintain a healthy workforce. A healthy and happy workforce means they will probably not only come to work on time every day but also stay in the company for longer years.

4. Boosting morale of the employees - A sharp mind and a healthy body are not only able to face challenge today but helps further advancement within the organization. Also with an increase in women workforce climbing the corporate ladder, workplace wellbeing is equally important to design around the women workforce.

5. Encouraging good healthy habits - Wellness programs teach how to manage work, physical exercise and healthy eating habits. Also, providing staff meals that are in line with the corporate health program outlined by a nutritionist, might be the first step toward increasing awareness of what a healthy employee must eat to stay alert on the job.

6.  Addressing bad habits and addictions - Wellness programs aim to discuss addictions related to drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco and the use of other abusive substances. While these directly affect the concerned employee, these employees could also be a bad influence to fellow employees.

7. Identifying a health problem and controlling its progression - Wellness programs include preliminary checkups for conditions like obesity and blood pressure to uncover and reduce any chances of forthcoming diseases. Such programs teach employees to monitor and self-manage their health. Modern digital corporate wellness plans provide devices like Fitbit to procure regular health information of the employees.

8. Reducing healthcare budgets - Like a stitch a time saves nine, so does a company believe that investing in preventive healthcare of employees will be far less expensive than later reimbursing higher medical bills for health conditions.

9. Attracting a better quality workforce - Today’s workforce does not rely solely on the pay package alone. Many employees are weighing the added benefits provided by the company before accepting the best job offer. A health plan for an employee has long-term benefits not only for the employee to stay fit but also to reduce medical bills. Most of the corporate wellness plans include regular check-ups for the employee and his/her family.

How to choose a wellness program -
1. Go to a specialist - A well established digital preventive healthcare platform would offer a range of services and products to minimize health risks of employees. If they are already offering similar programs in other corporates, then get them on your call list right away.

2. Check the facilities the platform can offer - A good healthcare platform like UCare offers a Fitbit, an ECG machine, a 24x7 ambulance emergency number, priority doctor appointments, health insurance plans for family, digital health vault for patient records and a mobile app for healthcare that makes the preventive healthcare plan comprehensive and useful for the employees and their families.
 
3. Is the program affordable - The bottom line for every corporate is the cost involved in introducing the corporate wellness program for its employees. Budget the program before putting it into action. That way you will know how much money to allot to the provider and at what intervals, basis the components included and reporting on the health of the employees. The employee wellness program needs regular monitoring for its cost effectiveness.

4. Is the program aligned to the employee’s requirement - The wellness program should be practical and designed as per the working conditions of the employees. Whether your employees are spending long hours standing on their feet or sitting on desks or all day at the factory floor, a program needs to address preventive healthcare to suit the individual work circumstances. Also, the program has to integrate both, healthcare at office and healthcare at home for it to be accepted more willingly and widely by the employees.

5. Are the employees involved - The company must involve the key employees from planning stage to feedback stage to encourage full participation. If the majority of the employees are not interested in the plan, why introduce it at all?

6. What is the timeline of the plan - A good wellness plan will be a mix of long-term health strategies (e.g. providing Fitbit band and Holter monitor) along with short-term events (e.g. yoga session).
 
Conclusion - The level of engagement and the health and happiness of your employees is the measure of a successful Corporate Wellness Plan. In developed countries like America, 92 percent of companies with 200 or more employees have a Corporate or Workplace wellness plan. In recent years, Indian corporates like TCS, Wipro, Accenture are also providing corporate wellness programs. Take a lead today to build your happy and healthy workforce of the future!

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