Join your company’s wellness program instead. If your employer doesn’t have one, get them to start one. A recent meta-analysis of the literature on costs and savings associated with workplace disease prevention and wellness programs found that medical costs fell by $3.27 for ever dollar spent on these programs, and absenteeism costs fell by $2.73 for every dollar spent.
What a concept: investing in prevention and wellness to lower medical costs, improve health and increase productivity. But we have a long way to go. In a 2006 survey, only 19% of companies with 500 or more employees reported offering wellness programs. Small businesses are slower still to offer such programs, and many of those offered are limited in scope.
If you’re an employer, start with a health risk assessment for your workers. Provide self-help educational materials, counseling, on-site group activities and seminars, perhaps fitness center membership as a benefit option, financial incentives, etc. The important thing is to get started and raise awareness. Opportunities will follow.