Corporate wellness insights

Economic Impact of Workplace Wellness (Part 1)

Posted by Matthew on 02.13.2017

workplace wellness economic impactA recent trade report tabs workplace wellness as a $43.3 billion global market, and predicts the industry will continue to grow as employers seek ways to slash healthcare costs and increase productivity.

That’s one finding from the Global Wellness Institute, Global Wellness Economy Monitor, January 2017. Workplace wellness is just one of nine sectors that comprise the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy.

Cost of the Unwell

GWI estimates that sick or unwell workers now cost the world’s economy 10-15% in output when you factor in medical costs and productivity losses caused by chronic diseases, work-related stress, injuries and illness, and widespread disengagement at work.

U.S. Largest Workplace Wellness Market By far

The report estimates that American employers spend four times more ($14.4 billion) annually on employee wellness than the next largest markets: Japan ($3.4 billion) and Germany (3.1 billion). The U.S. alone represents one-third of the workplace wellness spend, and is growing at almost 7% annually. American companies will continue spending more on employee wellness to lower healthcare costs, improve morale and recruitment, raise productivity, and stay competitive in the market. Globally, workplace wellness is expected to grow 5.0% annually to $55.1 billion in 2020.

A More Holistic Approach

In recent years, the scope of workplace wellness has gradually expanded from physical health to a more holistic approach. No longer are employee wellness programs offering only biometric screenings, weight-loss, and smoking cessation programs. They’re expanding to include mental health, stress management, and even financial wellness (all of which we offer, by the way).

Progressive companies are going much further to create a culture of health and well-being, incorporating features such as a healthy workplace design, innovative management and work structures, flexible and remote work, unlimited vacation time, expanded maternity and paternity leave, comprehensive minimum pay increases, and company-sponsored community service—all of which aim to improve employees’ engagement, work-life balance, and overall satisfaction and happiness at work.

In part two, we’ll take a closer look at some wellness trends GWI has identified for 2017.