What Should Worksite Wellness Programs Address

2 April, 2017

Holistic workplace wellness programs should address each of the key aspects of the dimensions of wellness (University of California, 2016; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2016):

  • physical health is an employee’s ability to maintain a healthy quality of life with minimal physical stress or fatigue
  • emotional health relates to an employee’s ability to cope with life’s challenges in a healthy way
  • spiritual health helps to ensure that employees maintain a state of peace and harmony
  • occupational health involves an employee’s personal satisfaction with the job; this helps to ensure that all individuals remain engaged
  • environmental health requires employees to recognize how they impact their physical environment and take responsibility for protecting it
  • intellectual health is an employees’ ability to be open minded about new ideas and experiences

Effective programs will seek to address the dimensions of wellness by offering employees a variety of opportunities to get involved in the process.  The relationships that employers establish with other providers play a major role in supplementing the on- and off-site selections presented to employees (CDC, 2016). Additionally, a holistic program should include such elements as nutrition education, exercise classes, weight management support, massage therapy, and body-mechanic ergonomic coaching.

Each of these approaches to wellness includes aspects of conventional and alternative forms of medicine, while cohesively targeting the integrated dimensions of wellness.  An employee who receives massage therapy and regularly engages in some form of exercise, for example, will improve their level of physical fitness, which also results in an improvement in emotional and spiritual health and intellectualism, thereby increasing productivity.

Direct health benefits of these programs include relief from stress, anxiety, depression, removal of toxins from the body, improved sleep, pain relief, improved cardiovascular health, increased mental alertness, improved balance, and improved mental alertness (CDC, 2016; Forbes, 2013; Krisberg, 2013).  If employers want to maximize their return on investment in employee wellness programs, they must ensure that they are properly designed and adequately supported.

What type of Wellness Programs does your company offer, and which aspects of health does it address?


  • CDC. (2016). The CDC worksite health scorecard: An assessment tool for employers to prevent heart disease, stroke, and related health conditions. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/pdf/hsc-manual.pdf.
  • Forbes. (2013). The causes and costs of absenteeism in the workplace. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/07/10/the-causes-and-costs-of-absenteeism-in-the-workplace/#3e8288ab3bd3.
  • Krisberg, K. (2013). Workplace wellness programs growing trend for employers: Affordable Care Act to play a role. Retrieved from: http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/43/8/1.3.full.
  • SAMHSA. (2016). The 8 dimensions of wellness. Retrieved from: https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness.
  • University of California. (2016). Seven dimensions of wellness. Retrieved from: https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html.