Do wellness programs work?

Not in the short term, but employees might see long-term benefits.

Workplace wellness programs are supposed to make employees healthier. They don't, at least not right away.

Employees enrolled in wellness programs don't see any improvements in physical or subjective health within the first two years. Their medical costs don't go down, either.

That said, they might be better off long term as a result of participating.

Wellness programs boost health screenings and primary care appointments. Participants also say they exercise more and manage their weight more actively, even if the results aren't immediately apparent in their biometric data.

Workplace wellness offerings vary widely, so their impacts will too. The best evidence suggests firms should view them as long-term investments in worker well-being, though, not quick wins.

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