Maybe it’s just my imagination, but wellness seems to be a popular topic lately, with wellness programs popping up everywhere. Whether simple perks like heath club incentives or putting together a full-scale “Biggest Loser” contest, more and more employers seem to be recognizing the value of staying well.

And it’s with good reason. Employees are the most valuable assets a company has. Research shows that healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive – both big pluses around any office. Additionally, I read in last month’s issue of Occupational Health and Safety magazine, companies with effective health management programs can expect a revenue increase of 20 percent per employee. With rising health care costs and lost productivity costs associated with sick days, that statistic is more important than ever.

As a health and fitness enthusiast, I’m all for these programs – but it’s not for the immediate, tangible rewards. (Though I have to say, being rewarded for something I take part in already? Jackpot!) The value of wellness programs isn’t the short-term perk of a bonus check or additional vacation day. It’s about a company giving employees the long-term benefits associated with a healthier lifestyle, which enables them to propel the health of the organization. It’s a continuous cycle and everybody wins. Employees are spending more and more time working these days, so it’s even more crucial to establish a work environment that fosters healthy behavior to ensure all employees have the opportunity and encouragement to strike a healthy balance, both at and away from the office.

Do you feel there is a link between wellness and your company’s top performers?

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