More and more, corporations are turning to corporate wellness programs to bring awareness to and support for their employee health needs. The best wellness programs corral everything — the worksite environment, company policies, and leadership’s messaging — into a single mission of improved health. Lasting health improvements The most effective wellness programs are comprehensive, flexible, scalable, and strategically tailored to your company’s goals, whether they’re business outcomes, health ones or both. Health outcomes are broad-reaching and could include weight loss, smoking cessation, stress management, and the management of high blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, sleep apnea, anxiety or depression. The popularity of wellness programs can be attributed to improved health outcomes and lower health care costs. Aside from business gains, workplace satisfaction can increase dramatically, leading to fewer absences and turnover. Stronger bottom line A recent report from PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) — Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2017 examined short-term and long-term health care industry trends. This report discovered that behavioral health care factors more and more into employer health benefits. Although incorporating behavioral health services may raise new costs in the short-term, it would likely deflate costs in the long-term, as behavioral and emotional health is often linked to chronic health issues. In a study focusing on the impact of workplace wellness programs on employee health, RAND Corporation cited that successful wellness programs have clear messaging from organizational leaders, prioritize wellness within management, approach wellness with a continuous quality improvement attitude and solicit feedback from employees. So what trends can you expect to see in worksite wellness in 2017? Here’s how corporations are using wellness programs (and this year’s lessons) to promote employee health in the coming year: 1. Place greater emphasis on sleep As more employers understand the importance of an employee’s entire health, focus falls on disease prevention and wellness interventions. Even though the CDC recommends adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day, they report that over 40 million American adults (30 percent) are only sleeping six or fewer hours a day. Employers are getting wise to the impact of sleep loss on their business. The short-term effects are damaging to productivity and can affect mood, memory retention and decision-making, as well as increase the risk of occupational injuries. Long-term sleep deprivation can exacerbate health problems like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Wellness programs can encourage better sleep habits through healthy sleep routines, which can have an enormous impact on productivity and overall well-being. 2. Continue to stay on top of [...]