Study: Workplace wellness programs not working out
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Feb 07, 2018
Costly workplace wellness programs are not having the effect on employees’ well-being that employers had hoped for, new research finds.
The Illinois Workplace Wellness Study, a large, randomized controlled study designed to examine the financial incentives on workplace wellness participation and program benefits, found that during the first year of the study, there was “virtually no difference” in health spending, sick leave, salary or job separation between the control group and the treatment group.
“In fact, gym visits were nearly identical between the two groups and there was no real difference in running participation,” University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Associate Professor Damon Jones, and co-author of the study noted.
According to the researchers, employers spent more than $8 billion in 2016 for wellness programs aimed at reducing employee sick days, encouraging healthier lifestyles and cutting medical costs.
More than 12,500 individuals participated in the study, which also found that those with the lowest salaries and those with the highest salaries were the least likely to participate in the programs.
“Plus, those who exercised already were among the most likely to join, while smokers were among the least likely,” the report notes.
Researchers hope the findings will empower employers, public health professionals, and policymakers to make better informed decisions regarding the implementation of workplace wellness programs.