Worksite Wellness is the promotion of health and wellness programs and activities to support healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes while at work — for employees, and in many cases, their families as well.
Evidence shows that workplace health programs have the potential to:
- influence social norms
- establish health policies
- promote healthy behaviors
- improve employees' health knowledge and skills
- help employees get necessary health screenings, immunizations, and follow-up care
- reduce on-the-job exposure to substances and hazards that can cause diseases and injury
Better for employees
Healthy employees are not just happier and more productive. Employees strive and perform at high levels if they feel their employer is concerned about their health.
Better for employers
Worksite wellness creates bottom-line benefits to employers as well. Employers who provide healthy work spaces—including access to healthy foods and physical activity—and support healthy policies show a positive return on investment. When done well, based on evidence and best practices, comprehensive worksite health programs can yield on average a $3 return on every dollar spent, over a two to five year period.
The State Employee Wellness Program (SEWP)
Mississippi's State Employee Wellness Program was created by the Legislature in 2010 to assist state agencies in creating their own evidence-based wellness programs. It's intended for all state employer units that participate in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield State and School Employees' Health Insurance Plan.
Including Wellness at Your Worksite
Health must be part of the culture of the organization — from its policies and built environment to the activities it provides. Simple ways to include workplace wellness are:
- Tobacco-free campus policy, subsidized quit-smoking counseling (quit lines, health plans, others)
- Worksite farmer's market
- Nutrition counseling/education
- Menu labeling on healthy foods
- Healthy foods in cafeterias and vending
- Weight management counseling
- Stairwell enhancement
- Physical fitness/lifestyle counseling
- Walking trails/clubs, flextime policy
- Promote and encourage annual physical exam through the company's health plan
- Healthy lunch and learn opportunities
- Onsite walks, group fitness, and recreational activities in the community
- Healthy breaks where employees are encouraged to walk, stretch, or get a healthy snack
For more information on the State Employee Wellness Program, or help setting up your own program, please contact the SEWP Director in the Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of Preventive Health at 601-206-1559.