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Do you know someone who lost weight through a program at work? What about that one friend who quit smoking along with several coworkers? Chances are, they were a part of an employee wellness program.
If you want some help achieving your health goals, think about leveraging your time and the support of your associates at work. According to MetLife's 9th annual employee benefits trend survey, 72 percent of employers with more than 500 workers have workplace wellness programs, and 29 percent of companies with under 500 workers have them, too. CEOs told MetLife that wellness programs save money.
Employers that invest in wellness programs typically target specific health risks, such as high blood pressure, smoking and cholesterol. Studies show reducing these risks can improve productivity and curb rising health costs.
The benefit to employees is not only better health, but a friendly environment for making lifestyle changes. Most of us know how difficult it can be to make even one positive, healthy change. It's easier when you have a diet or fitness buddy to keep you going, especially in a workplace culture that encourages it.
Between a full work day, a long commute, and family responsibilities, we often can't find the extra time and energy to build new habits. Workplace programs can overcome these barriers, providing time, emotional support, and motivation to help you meet your goals.
It's possible that your company already has some form of an employee wellness program in place. Check with your HR representative or manager to find out what's available. If there isn't one available, here's what you might do to get the ball rolling:
Be patient, but don't give up. This is still pretty new thinking and it takes time for new ideas to sink in. Management and colleagues might just need time to come around. You could also lead by example. At the end of the day, you're responsible for your own health. Personally incorporating the concepts behind wellness—regular exercise, healthy eating, stress reduction, and a tobacco-free lifestyle—offers you tremendous benefits.
Look to the support of friends and family who are trying to achieve the same health goals to improve your odds of being successful.
And remember: The next time you're in a job interview, ask if they have an employee wellness program.