Massachusetts is feeling the burden of sickness due to many risk factors and chronic conditions. One in three Massachusetts adults is affected by a chronic disease including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or asthma (BRFSS, 2009). These conditions not only drive up the costs of healthcare plans, but cause many employees to miss work.
Because we spend so much time at work, it can have a big impact on our health. It's important that both employees and employers take steps to create an environment that helps them eat better and move more. Employees' efforts to improve their own health can be helped greatly when employers create policies and provide services that support these efforts. If everyone works together, people can get healthier, be happier at work, and be more productive.
A healthier workforce is good for both employers and employees, and the results can be quite large considering the majority of adults spend most of their waking hours at work. Workplace Wellness Programs not only improve individual health, but also:
- reduce sick leave and absenteeism
- reduce health care costs
- reduce workers' compensation
- produce nearly a $6-to-$1 return on investment
According to a recent DPH survey, many employers in Massachusetts are implementing some worksite wellness activities to support employee health. Read the results of this survey .
Employers interested in starting a worksite wellness program can use a cost calculator to see how much money could be saved by implementing a workplace wellness program. Employers can also contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for information on the Working on Wellness program. The Department offers training and technical assistance to worksites for implementing programs and changes that help employees adopt healthier behaviors and make healthier choices.
The Massachusetts Worksite Wellness Programs guide employers on how to develop the infrastructure to support a worksite wellness program through such activities as:
- Learning how to take advantage of healthcare benefits.
- Including wellness into the overall vision and mission statement of the company.
- Creating new policies and changes in the workplace, such as negotiating with companies to place healthy foods in vending machines, or improving stairwells or outdoor spaces to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.
Check out the Worksite Wellness Toolkit file size 3MB file size 2MB .
Worksite Wellness Stories from the Field
- Department of Corrections (PDF)
- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Comission (PDF)
- The Family Service Association (PDF)
- Massachusetts Hospital Association (PDF)