Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wellness Comes to Philly Businesses – With Healthy Results

Well, we all know that an apple a day is no longer the trick. Maybe because we dip that apple in caramel. Maybe because a day has morphed into a week.

Whatever the reason, we know that it’s become more difficult to get healthy and stay healthy, and the cost of keeping the doctor away has reached new heights.

And, if you watch certain reality TV shows, it looks like if you want to be fit and healthy, you need to work out seven hours a day and eat cardboard. So it is no wonder that millions of Americans throw up their hands and quit before they start.

But studies have found that it is the small, incremental changes that have the most long-lasting impact on our health. Employers can play an instrumental role in helping employees live healthier lives, which may also have a positive impact on their bottom line. The Wellness Council of America estimates that for each $1 invested in a wellness program, employers can save as much as $3 in health care and productivity costs.

This is why we teamed up with Philadelphia magazine for its Be Well Philly Challenge, an eight-week corporate wellness competition. The results were outstanding! The four finalists lost a combined total of almost 1,000 pounds! These teams came together at Lucky Strike last Wednesday to crown the 2011 Be Well champion, enjoy healthy food and bowl. Advance Audio Visual Sales took the top prize, garnering almost 1,500 pound and wellness points.

To build an effective wellness program, consider what the Be Well Philly Challenge participants and other area businesses are doing to create sustainable wellness programs:

• Develop a detailed plan that includes short- and long-term objectives.
• Set up a wellness committee and identify wellness champions who will help drive the program’s scope and implementation.
• Review data from past insurance claims, employee surveys, health assessments and biometric screenings to make sure you select wellness programs that combat the most common health challenges affecting employees.
• Offer onsite wellness programs, such as biometric screenings, health fairs and walking clubs.
• Encourage employees to participate in wellness programs by offering incentives like gift cards, lower health insurance premiums, cash bonuses, discounts and contributions to health savings accounts.
• Make sure you communicate often.
• Provide employees with online tools that simplify important tasks like keeping track of health care costs.
• Track results to evaluate both the wellness programs and how individual employees in the programs are doing.

We are committed to helping individuals live healthier and supporting companies that share that goal. While following these tips may help employers and their employees achieve results like our Be Well Philly finalists did, we look forward to partnering with more companies and community organizations to improve the health of our employees, families and friends here and across the country.

Have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

Learn more about Philadelphia magazine’s Be Well Philly Challenge

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