Corporate wellness insights

Study: Wellness Challenge Improves Health and Well-Being

Posted by Matthew Benton on 04.21.2017

wellness challengeA study published in the December 2016 issue of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine comes to the same conclusion that inspired us to found WCS back in 2004. Trends toward unhealthiness are a serious issue for the country, and workplace interventions are part of the solution.

That’s the finding from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s CEO Council on Health and Innovation.

The study surveyed 10 businesses—representing a wide range of sizes, types and industries—participating in an 8-week physical activity wellness challenge. Employees were then asked to complete a survey about their awareness of, participation in, and satisfaction with the challenge.

The Results

  • 103,383 employees participated in the challenge, averaging 6,886 steps per day per participant.
  • Of the 3,820 respondents to an employee survey sent to all workers, 62% reported enrolling in the program.
  • And, of those, the majority reported positive impacts on health (76%), fitness (73%) and lifestyle (70%).

The study showed that even a brief, workplace-based wellness challenge can achieve positive self-reported health impacts when supported by senior management of the company.

WCS has been conducting wellness challenges for years, both for our own employees and for our clients. In our experience offering individual and team-based challenges, we’ve seen many of the same results that this study’s survey showed.

Satisfaction with the Challenge

Overall satisfaction with the wellness challenge was high. 61% were somewhat or completely satisfied, and only 6% were somewhat or complete dissatisfied.

Enrollees enjoyed numerous aspects of the challenge, including that it was fun, engaging, easy to use, and built teamwork. Open-ended responses indicated that participants found synergistic effects between teamwork, competition, goal setting, and goal achievement:

  • “It provided me additional goals and served as a constant reminder for me to stay active.”
  • “I liked competing against others across the world; that was cool.”
  • “It motivated me, as a contributing part of a team, with the result that I got a lot closer to my overall goal for this year on a daily basis.”

Other aspects employees enjoyed were the ability to reduce their health insurance premiums, lose body fat percentage, and break up the workday.

Self-Reported Impacts

The wellness challenge had predominantly positive effects on all health-related areas, such as overall health, fitness level, and lifestyle. There were almost no self-reported negative effects on either health- or work-related areas.

Future Plans

When asked about the future, 95% of respondents said they planned to continue exercising on their own even after the challenge was over. Moreover, 86% of respondents indicated they would participate in other challenges if they were offered.

When asked about their reasons for participating in another challenge, respondents said that the current challenge was fun, motivating, engaging, good for team-building, and health-promoting. Examples of open-ended responses include:

  • “Because it builds morale and competition.”
  • “Because I would like to meet more people.”
  • “It really motivated me and I felt much better from getting the additional exercise… it really improved my energy level and physical feeling of well-being by the end of the challenge.”

Wellness challenges are just one of the services we provide our yearlong wellness clients. Contact us today to learn about everything we can do to help your organization.

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