Employees Say Employer Wellness Programs Are Helping

Fifty-three percent of people with access to wellness programs said the initiatives have made a positive impact on their health, which can save both employees and employers money.

More than half of employees with access to workplace wellness programs say the programs have made a positive impact on their health, including 62% who say the initiatives translated to improved productivity and 30% who report help detecting a disease, according to findings from UnitedHealthcare’s annual “Wellness Check Up Survey.”

Fifty-three percent of people with access to wellness programs said the initiatives have made a positive impact on their health. Of these, 88% said they were motivated to pay more attention to their health; 67% said they lost weight; and 56% reported fewer sick days.

Among employees without access to wellness programs, 73% say they would be interested in such initiatives if offered, including 42% who are “very interested.” Nearly 85% of Baby Boomers—defined as people between 54 and 72 years old—want wellness programs, more so than any other age group.

Just 29% of all respondents said they are willing to devote an hour or more each day on health-related activities, such as consistent exercise, researching healthy recipes or engaging in wellness coaching. Among employees with access to a wellness program, 31% said they are willing to devote that amount of time each day to their health, compared to 26% without access to a wellness program.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees claim they meet government recommendations for physical activity, defined as at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two days or more per week with moderate- or high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities. However, UnitedHealthcare notes, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that just 20% of Americans meet those recommended guidelines.

“This year’s results underscore the importance of workplace wellness programs, which can encourage well-being, prevent disease before it starts and, as a result, help lower medical costs,” says Rebecca Madsen, UnitedHealthcare chief consumer officer. “By investing in wellness programs, employers are in a unique position to drive engagement and create healthier, happier and more productive workforces.”

The UnitedHealthcare “Wellness Check Up Survey” was conducted April 5-8 and April 12-15, 2018, using ORC International’s Telephone CARAVAN omnibus among a landline and cell phone probability sample of 630 adults ages 18 and older and employed full time in the continental United States. Complete survey results are here.