A growing number of companies are implementing wellness-at-work programs, and for good reason: A report from the American Heart Association reports that for every dollar invited in corporate wellness, a company saves somewhere between $3 and $15. In general, employees who participate in wellness programs are sick less often, pay lower health insurance premiums, and are less likely to file for disability pay or worker’s compensation.
There are many approaches to improving employee health. Some offices hand out pedometers or Fitbits or organize company sports teams. Others serve up healthier foods in cafeterias and vending machines or hire in-office fitness instructors to teach classes. But for many people, more guidance is needed to create lasting health effects. That’s why one of our favorite strategies for encouraging wellness at work is bringing in actual weight loss and wellness coaching for employees.
Here are three common approaches for providing feedback, encouragement, and education to employees:
Some employees hire independent health coaches to meet with employees one-on-one. A coach typically interviews a client then suggests healthy behaviors to implement, helps the employee set goals, and discusses obstacles at home and the office that may be sabotaging weight loss attempts. Check-ins may be scheduled weekly, monthly, or over another period of time. Tools like food and activity journals may be used to track progress and find areas for improvement, and some coaches may take a more active role, such as by helping prepare grocery shopping lists or even teach cooking techniques. Organizations offering health coaching certifications (and may also have a database of certified coaches) include ACE , the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the Duke School of Integrative Medicine.
All things are going online, including health coaching. Retrofit‘s new program, Retrofit Group, offers remote mentoring to a group of people which is why many employers have chosen it: as with personal training, small group health coaching is often more affordable than one-on-one training but it still gives clients a chance to closely connect with a mentor. Retrofit Group has three main components: Weekly group meetings with a Group Advisor via video conference; online community forums for the whole company to use for sharing resources and encouragement; and online tracking, where clients are able to record their food and activity in private. Additionally, participants can reach their Group Advisor throughout the week for one-on-one feedback and help.
For in-person group coaching, Weight Watchers at Work is a popular option. With this program, Weight Watchers brings its traditional meeting format to the workplace. (Most of these meetings are held in an office conference room or cafeteria, however off-site meetings can also be arranged.) You can expect the same sort encouragement, open sharing, and confidential weigh-ins that you’d find at an open meeting, only with familiar faces all around. In addition to guidance and support from a Weight Watchers Meeting Leader, participants are able to access Weight Watcher’s online tools, including food and activity logs, recipes, group forums, and more.