Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being
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Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Kathryn M. Page

Almost every person works at some point in their lives. The Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being examines the association of particular work experiences with employee and organizational health and performance.
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Chapter 22: Corporate wellness programs: do they increase employee well-being?

Astrid M. Richardsen

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the increasing prevalence and importance of workplace wellness initiatives on a global scale. While workplace wellness programs are particularly prevalent in the USA, they are also becoming common in Europe and Asia. The chapter addresses the background of wellness initiatives, the range and prevalence of wellness programs offered, and an example of a comprehensive wellness program. The research evidence on program effectiveness is presented, both in terms of financial benefits for the company and the health benefits for the individual. Three factors that are crucial for program success are discussed – planning, participation and evaluation – and ethical and legal issues concerning wellness incentive programs, control and medical privacy are considered. The conclusion is that well-designed and -implemented corporate wellness programs are likely to increase individual health and quality of life, while at the same time increasing organizational effectiveness and reducing healthcare costs. Future research directions and challenges are discussed.

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