Workers Heart Workplace Wellness Programs

January 14, 2010 ( – Nearly half (47%) of employees recently polled say they either would like to or already do participate in a workplace wellness program so they can get healthier.

A Principal Financial Group news release about the latest data from its Principal Financial Well-Being Index said employees cited reducing personal health care costs (30%), having a greater chance of living longer and healthier lives (30%), receiving employer incentives for participation (28%), and enjoying reduced stress (28%) as reasons to join a workplace wellness program.

Twenty-seven percent said they would like in-office fitness facilities, 23% said they like fitness center discounts, and 19% expressed interest in weight-management programs. Fifteen percent had access to fitness facilities in the fourth quarter 2009, compared to 11% in fourth quarter 2008, Principal reported.

Finally, 45% of respondents at small- to medium-sized companies said having a workplace wellness program would help keep them at the same employer longer, while 40% said the programs encourage them to work harder and perform better. More than one-quarter (26%) said the wellness efforts help them miss fewer work days due to illness.

“Wellness programs are clearly a win-win, especially at a time when employers and their employees are more budget conscious,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group, in the news release.

The survey was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive between October 20 and October 30, 2009, among 1,120 employees and 602 retirees at companies with between 10 and 1,000 workers.