LifeWorks@TURCK: a best practice case study on workplace well-being program design
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Health and education are the most important factors related to human capital. They form the basis of an individual’s and a population’s productivity and associate population health as a key ingredient to poverty reduction, economic growth, and long-term economic development of a region or entire societies. As such, both factors are extremely important to business and industry because they prepare the future workforce and (a) optimize the performance of current employees at work and in their home life, (b) positively influence people’s lives in general, and (c) reduce overdependency on medical care resources. It is therefore not surprising that during times of ever-increasing medical care expenditures, of which much of the burden is borne by business and industry, employers look to workplace health protection and promotion to better manage their costs. Literature reviews also support the notion that workplace wellness programs can generate savings in medical care expenditures and reduce productivity loss. However, criticism of these claims has surfaced in recent years as several analyses indicate that the savings may not be as robust as reported. So, where does this inconsistent view of results come from? Why do conflicting results emerge from systematic reviews conducted by highly credible sources? The most recent National Worksite Health Promotion survey points out that only 6.9% of companies have programs that may be considered comprehensive in design. Program design matters in producing results, and programs designed according to best practice principles tend to produce better outcomes. Therefore, a differentiation should be made between well-designed programs and those that do not adhere to well-established known practices related to successful programs.