Wellness Programs Don't WorkSierra Black
Workplace wellness programs are pervasive. You may not have paid a lot of attention to the perks when you were being hired, but you’ve probably used your company’s wellness plan for something: free gym access, a coupon for sporting goods when you’ve gotten your check-up like a good girl, discounts on yoga classes.
Business don’t give you these side benefits because they want you to look great in your bikini. They’re hoping to protect their own bottom lines from rising health care costs. Like fringe day care benefits, it’s a way to keep employees working their best.
But the Wall Street Journal reports that these wellness programs don’t work. So what does?
The programs are failing, says the WSJ’s Health blog, because they’re being offered too passively. To get more bang for their health bucks, company’s need to put more emphasis on healthy living and model the changes they want to see from the top.
The same is, presumably, true for us. To get lasting results, we need to make systemic changes to our lives. Want to lose 10 pounds? Quit smoking? Run a marathon? You’ll have to work at it.
The WSJ shows a little light on what does work: personalized health coaching, incentives for participation, making changes to your environment. Even with corporate backers, moms can do these things at home.
Just like you give your kids a gold star for finishing their chores, you can reward yourself for going running, stash the money you save on cigarettes or sweets in a saving account and make some changes to your lifestyle that encourage healthy habits. That can be as simple as not buying sugary snacks or as big a leap as giving up your car and biking to work every day.
What works for you to have a healthy lifestyle?