Workplace wellness programs are becoming more and more popular. These programs identify employee health conditions and encourages employees to make healthier lifestyle choices. Often, they stop there. At the General Agencies of The United Methodist Church (GAUMC), our goal is to provide holistic wellness programs that address the mind, body and spirit.
The World Health Organization reports that 80% of all premature heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes could be prevented if people:
- Eat healthier
- Exercise more
- Stop using tobacco
At GCFA, we have worked closely with our health care provider to ensure we provide wellness programs that meet the needs of all of the GAUMC employees. Employee engagement, motivation and support are essential to ensuring a successful program.
Employees are becoming more health conscious today, yet they are finding it difficult to maintain wellness goals. This can be attributed to stress. Stress in work-life, family-life and finances can lead to unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. With Americans working longer hours and more days, it can be difficult for employees to find time to exercise and eat right.
Tips for Wellness Programs
A successful wellness program is strategically planned and includes on-site wellness opportunities for employees. It is important to be intentional about offering programs that address the mind, body and spirit. The GAUMC offers programs through our healthcare provider that combine education, communication, incentives and physical activity. Two of them are:
Real Appeal: https://www.uhc.com/news-room/2016-news-release-archive/real-appeal-weight-loss-program
In 2016, GAUMC employees were offered an incentive through the Rally Program, to complete a Wellness Exam. A Wellness Exam helps identify potential health problems and encourages people to take chart of their health. From 2015 to 2016, there was a 12% increase in the number of individuals that received a Wellness Exam. For those individuals in the age range, 40 – 64, the increase was almost 15%, which is significant because this age range is more at risk for preventative illnesses. As we saw an increase with Wellness Exams, we also saw a rise in other preventative exams, such as Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Screenings. The Real Appeal program offers personal coaching and an interactive environment to help participants with weight loss.
Having a strategic wellness program is essential.
Programs that combine long-term and short-term goals are best. When a person is able to commit mentally, emotionally and socially, progress is possible. While we have seen results in regards to preventative health, to have a holistic wellness program, we must address spiritual wellness as well. To achieve this goal, the GAUMC also offers a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program, professional development opportunities, continuing education, on-site yoga and massage, etc. A comprehensive employee wellness program addresses mind, body and spirit. Weekly chapel service at many locations provide that time of reflection and renewal during the week.
A comprehensive program shows that we not only care about our employees being healthy at work, but also having healthy lives. We are committed to caring for those covered in our plans and living out these efforts supported in scripture to encourage wellness in mind, body and spirit not only in their jobs, but also in the whole of their lives.
3 John 1:2 – I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Caitlin Congdon, Chief Officer of Human Resources & Professional Development