Leadership / Management | Organizational Development

Wellness programs: Healthy, wealthy and wise

Fitness Call it fitness, call it wellness -- whatever you call it, it's good for your heart ... and good for business, too.

Thirty-seven percent of all employers now offer a workplace wellness program, according to a MetLife study. That's up from 33 percent in 2008 and 27 percent in 2005.

Among big businesses, the number's even greater -- around 61 percent.

And employees are taking advantage. The same study found that 57 percent of workers with access to a wellness program participate. And why?

  • Seventy-one percent of those who participate say they value the benefit.
  • Seventy percent say they want to be healthier.
  • Fifty percent like the financial incentives.

But employees aren't the only ones who benefit. Companies with healthier employees enjoy greater productivity and less absenteeism and spend less on health-related matters.

“More than ever before," said MetLife's Dr. Ronald Leopold, "employers are recognizing the value of a healthy workforce and are viewing wellness programs as an investment to help address their business objectives.”

The MACPA has launched a wellness program of its own, though it's in its infancy. We're collecting advice and best practices from a number of sources -- including Richard J. Princinsky and Associates and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, among others -- and we're encouraging our employees to get started down a path to better fitness.

Now, there's even more help available.

Our friends at AccountingWeb have launched their Workplace Fitness Challenge, "a gauntlet, if you will, thrown down to accountants, accounting firms, and office workers everywhere," writes AccountingWeb Managing Editor Gail Perry. "Our goal is to offer practical suggestions and solutions that you can use to improve the fitness of yourself, your co-workers, and your clients."

The site offers nutrition and healthy eating tips, suggested workplace exercises, success stories from around the business world, a recommended reading list and more.

Check out AccountingWeb's wellness site here, then share your own wellness success stories by leaving a comment below.


Bill Sheridan