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5 Keys To Making Your Wellness Program Successful

Rachel Iannarino

BY Rachel Iannarino /


Wellness, it's become a buzz word we are quite familiar with today. Especially as it relates to the workplace. Why do employers care so much about what seemingly used to be done in our "off-time" outside of the office? They care because, according to the US Department of Labor, an "epidemic of lifestyle diseases has developed in the US." Unhealthy lifestyles have driven up the prevalence of chronic disease.  Things like diabetes, heart disease and chronic pulmonary conditions have become a major concern leading to decreased quality of life, premature death and disability not to mention increased health care costs and decreased productivity in the office. 

Employers care so much, in fact, that when nearly 1,400 HR management professional across a broad range of industries and organization sizes were asked, the majority reported that they plan to increase their employee engagement and wellness program budgets in 2015. They also intend to broaden program scopes with an eye on increasing engagement, participation and retention, according to a recent report. The report, State of the Industry: Engagement & Wellness in 2015 was conducted by Virgin Pulse, whose motto is "Changing lives for good. Making companies better."

“Modern life is taking its toll on employees and leaving them overwhelmed, stressed out, and depleted. That has a major impact on how engaged and productive people are both on and off the job, so leading employers are taking steps to change that,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse. “We commissioned the state of the industry report to learn more about what executives and HR managers are doing to help their employees be healthier, happier and more productive. The report aims to close the loop between what employees want and need, and what companies can do to deliver the support employees need in order to be their best selves at work and beyond.”

What's even more interesting and changing the way we think about healthy workplaces and spaces is how organizations are defining wellness. Most now define wellness well beyond physical health. In fact, they are looking to improve employees emotional, social and financial well-being too. However, while strides are being taken to better define what wellness means, measuring the impact is still inconsistent among many companies trying to provide a healthy workspace.  

The report uncovered that within organizations, there's a disconnect between how executives and managers view engagement and wellness. Executives tend to view both as the same, but managers are likely to be more results-oriented. Only 26% of organizations are not measuring their return on investment (ROI).  Of those measuring ROI,  38% measure it based on a reduction of claims, while 26% measuring it in terms of employee engagement gains.  

"shutterstock_262418681Modern life is taking its toll on employees and leaving them overwhelmed, stressed out and depleted. That has a major impact on how engaged and productive people are both on and off the job, so leading employers are taking steps to change that," - Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse.

While we may still be navigating exactly how to measure the impact and define success, the US Department of Labor, in conjunction with RAND, has conducted a case study analysis that defines five factors of implementing a successful wellness programs. This study looked at companies who either evaluated participation/engagement or results, and determined the following ways to set your wellness program up for success.


1. Effective communication strategies:
  • Whether face-to-face or in mass dissemination, employers cited the important of broad outreach and clear messaging from leadership.
2. Opportunities for employees to engage:
  • Making wellness activities convenient and easily accessible for all employees, and ensuring they have time to get involved by eliminating wait times and modifying rigid work schedules.
3. Leadership engagement at all levels:
  • Research suggests that for these programs to be a success, senior managers need to consider wellness an organizational priority to shift the company culture.
4. Use of existing relationships:
  • All organizations in the case studies leveraged existing relationships and resources to expand offerings at little to no cost. 
5. Continuous evaluations and refinement:
  • Companies need to approach wellness with a continuous quality improvement attitude. Obtaining feedback from employees at all levels and continue to evaluate metrics and refine as needed.

Organizations who follow the steps above, as well as supplement their wellness programs with healthy office furniture options that promote alternating sitting and standing throughout the day, are starting their programs on the right foot.   

To learn more about how we can help you evaluate your space and healthy furniture options, contact us today.

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Rachel Iannarino


Rachel Iannarino

Rachel Iannarino is the VP, Marketing at Continental Office. She has been with the team for over two years and has a background in consumer, pharmaceutical, and B2B marketing.

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Tags: All Areas, Workplace Wellness