What’s going to help you maximize wellness program participation to get results in 2019? It’s one of the critical questions you have to consider every year to develop effective wellness programs and allocate resources. Your wellness strategy and participant data can help you make informed decisions. But wouldn’t it be nice to look at what’s trending in wellness to help you promote health, prevent disease, and lower healthcare costs? Take a look at the top five wellness trends in 2019 to find out if you’re on the right track.

1. Less screen time rises as a wellness initiative

How many hours a day are your participants staring into a screen? A lot. You don’t have to look far to know exposure to blue light from TV, smartphones, tablets, and computers is greater than it’s ever been. And that’s a problem. Research shows chronic exposure to blue light may be linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It can have an effect on mood and mental health, too. And more employers are making efforts to prevent that. What can you do to help your participants disconnect and reduce screen time? Here are a few examples:
  • Set boundaries and expectations for electronic communications (email, chat, video, etc.)
  • Create a health challenge to encourage less screen time
  • Offer incentives for participants to who reduce screen time

2. More wellness programs take a holistic approach

It wasn’t that long ago that diet and exercise comprised the bulk of wellness program design. But that’s changing as more organizations take a holistic approach to wellness to address physical, mental, financial, spiritual, and social health. If you want to improve wellness program participation, make it easier for participants to access programs and services. Onsite services like health clinics, child care, financial management, or massage therapy can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, and have a positive impact on ROI. Telemedine is another service that’s gaining popularity because it’s more convenience and less expensive than a trip to the doctor or hospital.

3. Employers give snacks at work a make-over

Does your lunchroom have a vending machine stocked with sugary drinks and candy bars? Or maybe participants don’t have any options, and frequently choose nearby fast food options. Why not make it easier for your participants to eat healthy? Research shows poor food choices at work may increase the risk for anxiety, depression, and emotional eating. But more employers are making an effort to change that by providing health snack options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • If your organization has an on-site cafeteria, give the menu a makeover to offer more healthy options.
  • Stock the lunchroom with free fruits and healthy snacks.
  • Or check with your vendor to provide healthier vending machine choices.

4. Participant interests drives wellness programming

Ever rolled out a wellness program initiative that flopped? It happens. But if you take time to listen to your participants, their interests can help you drive wellness programming. The more adaptable you are to adjust to participant interests, the more likely you’ll see an increase in engagement. So let’s say you’ve identified participant interest in meditation and yoga. Bring in an instructor and host a series of classes. If participants express an interest in eating better, bring in a dietitian or nutritionist for a healthy-cooking demo and discussion.

5. Mental health initiatives get more attention

Did you know 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health issue at least once a year? That might be something as common as having a bad day or grieving the loss of a loved one. Or it could be a more a chronic problem like anxiety or depression More employers recognize the impact mental health can have on productivity, presenteesism, absenteeism, safety, and well-being. And it’s why more wellness programs now include mental health initiatives. If you want to grow your wellness program in 2019, increase participation, and achieve your population health goals, take a look at your strategy and see if these trends are part of your plan. Looking for a customizable wellness platform?

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