According to “A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy & Action Plan 2016 – 2025” developed by the Dept. of Health, a “whole of society” approach to health and wellbeing is vital in the effort to help prevent ill health and chronic disease. The Dept. of Health specifically identifies the workplace as one of eight sectors outlined to play an active leadership role in the prevention and management of obesity. It is also worth noting that at the recent launch of the latest update on the Government’s Healthy Ireland plan, Leo Varadkar announced that tax breaks are to come for those employers who install showers and fitness equipment for their employees.
US Corporate Wellness Related studies:
There are 90 percent of US companies now using some form of corporate wellness programs, and a recent meta-analysis found that each dollar spent on wellness programs saves $3.27 in health care costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs (University of California, 2017).
A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (2010) showed that companies with highly effective wellness programs showed lower voluntary turnover compared to other companies (9% vs 15%).
Biltmore Tourism Enterprise experienced a drop in turnover levels after the introduction of a comprehensive wellness Program from 19% in 2005 to 9% (Berry, Mirabito and Baun, 2010).
Recently, a study by the University of California (2017) found that the presence of wellness programs significantly improved employee retention, absenteeism and increased the average worker productivity by over 5 percent.
Research is suggesting that millennials in particular have changing expectations in relation to what they expect from their employer, with an increased emphasis on stress reduction and wellness initiatives (West, 2012).
Health is an increasing concern for the millennial generation in general, with 72 percent of millennials stating they exercise once a week or more, and 95 percent saying they care deeply about their health. (Kumar, 2016).
Millennials also often engage in more wellness initiatives, particularly e-health tools. A study by Reynolds (2015) found that millennials utilized e-Health tools to promote exercise more frequently, with their weekly minutes of e-Health tools being significantly higher than their older counterparts.