employee engagement workplace wellness

Study Reviews Benefits of ‘Evidence-Based Lifestyle Interventions in Workplace”

We have written recently on the many ways well-run workplace wellness programs can engage employees and help companies reduce health costs:

This seemed, then, like a good time to note a useful study published by the Society of Occupational Medicine that’s nearly four years old, but still relevant today: “Evidence-based lifestyle interventions in the workplace—an overview.”

The authors note: “Lifestyle-related health issues affect the economic position of organizations and contribute to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and health care costs.”

They continue: “Work and employees’ physical and mental health are interconnected in different ways. Work environment factors including shift work, work stress and work demands directly impact on employee health and well-being. On the other hand, a poor state of health may lead to sick leave, lost working days, increased absenteeism, presenteeism, and reduced productivity and influences the profitability of organizations. Maintaining employees’ health and work performance therefore is of great importance and is reflected in the introduction of workplace health promotion and prevention programmes.”

They focus on an important reason for the utilization of workplace wellness programs: Chronic disease. They write: “A number of chronic diseases are strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle including poor nutrition and being sedentary, overweight or obese.”

The authors conclude: “This review of workplace interventions focusing on diet and/or physical activity found that almost all interventions achieved small but significant changes in physical activity, fitness, dietary behaviour or weight. Interventions with specifically targeted goals (weight management or physical activity promotion) based on multi-component programs tended to be more successful.”

Key points noted in the piece:

  • “Employees’ dietary behaviour could be influenced by workplace interventions based on nutritional education solely or combined with environmental modifications.”
  • Physical activity was increased by multi-component interventions including step counting, active commuting and organizational changes.”
  • “Multi-component programmes were most effective in promoting a healthy weight among employees.”