UBP blog


Face your stuff or stuff your face. Here’s where so many workplace wellness programs are “missing the boat”

When someone mentions the term “workplace wellness program”, what are the first things that come to mind?

Many people would start off by naming some common services that almost all traditional programs have (i.e. weight management and smoke cessation).

There’s a lot of research out there showing us that these services are a good thing. Study after study reveals that obesity and smoking both lead to higher levels of absenteeism, “presenteeism” (you know, when someone is there are work but isn’t 100 percent “there”) and other productivity-related cost issues in a workplace. It’s plain to see why employers put programs with these services into place: they improve the bottom line.

Wellness programs that improve the bottom line are definitely not a bad thing, and they’re easy to keep around. All you’ll have to do is show that they produce a quantifiable return on investment (ROI) and management will give you the green light to keep them.

But, the question that you’ll need to ask now is this one, are traditional wellness programs really doing their job of promoting total workplace wellness?

Are they addressing the root causes for employees “stuffing their faces” with food, drugs, alcohol, etc. or are they just addressing the symptoms (i.e. smoking, obesity, substance abuse) once employees faces have already been “stuffed”?

To answer these questions we’ll need to take a deeper look at what exactly total wellness is, and where traditional wellness programs that focus solely on physical health issues fall short.

What is total wellness?

Total wellness is a state of being made up of three different components, Physical, Mental and Spiritual wellness. Let’s leave the spirits out of this blog and focus on mental wellness, our emotional wellness.

Our emotional wellness is what helps us to stay on the right track towards physical health. When employees are emotionally well, they are better able to make healthy lifestyle choices and steer clear from “stuffing their faces” with substances and habits that compromise their physical health.  

Step #1 to total wellness, Know Your Health Plan:

When employees know their health plans, they not only know about the service available to them for their physical health, they also know where to go for the mental health needs of themselves and their families.

One great thing that you can do in your workplace to help employees out with the mental health component of total wellness is to host a lecture series on mental health topics (i.e. eating disorders (includes both overeating and under-eating), alcoholism, substance abuse, etc.) that employees may attend to learn what to do if they, a co-worker or a family member at home are dealing with these issues. Also, the lecturers could let them know where they can go to for help.

Knowing your plan is only the beginning:

Knowing your health plan is just the first step to total wellness in your workplace. To help employers achieve total “wellness workplaces”, Universal Benefit Plans has created our proprietary 13 steps to total wellness. To get your very own 13 steps to total wellness plan, give us a call at 617-859-1777 or fill out a Contact Form on our website, www.universalbenefitplans.com

1 Comment »

  1. Very thoughtfull post on mental wellness. It should be very much helpfull

    Karim – Positive thinking

    Comment by Karim — 09/19/2009 @ 5:40 am | Reply

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