Study: Wellness Programs Produce Stronger, Healthier Workers

Des Moines, Iowa — Jan. 19

Americans work harder, are more productive and miss fewer days of work as a result of wellness benefit programs, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index. Forty-one percent of workers agree that having a wellness program encourages them to work harder and perform better at work.

The index, which surveys U.S. workers at growing businesses with 10 to 1,000 workers, is released by the Principal Financial Group and conducted by Harris Interactive. These findings focusing specifically on wellness attitudes and behaviors among U.S. workers were taken from the fourth quarter 2011 index.

According to the research, 52 percent of workers (up from 37 percent last year) said they have more energy to be more productive at work by participating in a wellness program. Another 35 percent (up from 28 percent a year ago) said they have missed fewer days of work.

Forty-five percent of workers chose better overall physical health as the top benefit to participating in a wellness program. Other top mentions included receiving a meaningful incentive from their employer for participation (30 percent) and reduced personal health care costs, greater chance of living a longer, healthier life and reduced stress (29 percent each). Fifty-five percent of workers rated wellness activities offered by an employer as very successful or somewhat successful in improving health and reducing health risks.

The top four wellness benefits workers would most like to see their employer offer are fitness center discounts (25 percent), on-site preventive screenings (22 percent), access to wellness experts such as nutritionists (21 percent) and onsite fitness facilities (19 percent).

However, the top four wellness benefits offered by employers are online wellness information (19 percent), educational tools or resources (18 percent), fitness center discounts (17 percent) and printed wellness information (17 percent). Access to wellness experts was only available to 11 percent of those surveyed.

Source: the Principal Financial Group