5 Trends in Corporate Wellness Programs

5 Trends in Corporate Wellness Programs

In the late 1980’s, the President of the National Cash Register (NCR) hit upon the idea of meeting his employees for a horse-back ride before work every day.  People must have looked at him strange I’m sure, but that man definitely knew what he was doing! He might not have been familiar with the term, but he sure did understand the spirit and motive behind Corporate Wellness.

Obviously today trends have changed with corporate wellness initiatives (and come to think of it, horseback riding may not be such a bad idea after all!). These programs are evolving every day but here are some common trends.

Trends in Corporate Wellness Programs

1) The Movement

In the Body Book, Cameron Diaz put it simply: “Moving your body on a daily basis, continually throughout the day, is your body’s instinct because it is essential to its well-being.” Movement is polar opposite to the sedentary lifestyle that an office job entails and companies are waking up to it. Kaiser Permanente, for example, has in place commuter spending accounts and bike-to-work reimbursements to get their employees moving. On-site gyms aside, they have an active Instant Recess campaign, which promotes 10-minute physical fitness breaks in the middle of the day! And there is Google, of course; some of their facilities boast indoor slides! Fitness bands and other wellness wearables have also become an essential part of the ‘movement’ movement. Some companies have gone as far as gifting wearable devices to their employees and implementing platforms in which these employees can compete with eachother. With 63% of consumers willing to adopt a fitness tracker if their company pays for it, this is definitely something companies should consider moving forward.

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2) Stress Busters

This survey by CompPsych is a must see. As the figure below shows, stress is a major cause of concern. One of the topmost goals of corporate wellness is to bust that stress. You won’t believe the amazing ideas that companies are exploring to this end. Recognizing the role of sleep and relaxation as the most important stress reliever, companies are making available “energy pods” and yoga and meditation rooms onsite. Companies like Accenture offer employee assistance programs designed specifically to help employees deal with stress, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

impact of stress upon daily productivity


3) Watch That Weight

The impact of nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight watch cannot be overemphasized and so companies are going all out to include this in their wellness programs. Cleveland Clinic has a “Healthy Choice” program where employees get a customized wellness plan with goals and ways of achieving them. Also included is a free membership to Weight Watchers and Curves. And we love this one- Genentech hosts farmer markets that gives employees access to local, organic produce! Salad bars and healthier food options are being seriously looked into by companies all over the world.

4) Team Effort

There is no “I” in team; Everyone is in it together. An unhappy work environment, co-workers getting on your nerves and unhealthy competition, can totally mess up the workspace juju. Love the people you work with and you will love your work is the mantra that companies are seriously working towards. General Mills’ Flexible User Shared Environments for example, gives its 43,000 employees the chance to just chill, move around to different desks and just communicate. They also have their celebrated Fitness Fridays where teams bond over games and sport events. Epic, and its “Epic Odyssey” trips is an awesome initiative too. It makes possible for employees to travel together, explore new cultures, engage in philanthropic and sporting events, and just relax with your team.

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5) Giving Back

There is more happiness in giving… Working towards a cause and giving back to the community is a proven way of de-stressing and creating a positive atmosphere and general happiness. Happy workers are the best workers. So working on the giving quotient, companies are organizing philanthropic events like Rebuilding Together, a leading nonprofit that provides home repairs and improvements to low-income homeowners. Microsoft encourages its employees to contribute their time and resources to charity and has active programs in place to help them do that.  It donates $17 for every hour an employee volunteers for charity! How cool is that?

We just covered only 5 of the many trends that are coming up in workplaces around the world. Corporate Wellness is no longer just a perk; it is an essential part of the work lifestyle and there’s no doubt about it!

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