Teleworkers More Often Pursue Wellness Options on Their Own

Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS May 5, 2016

Forty-five percent of all full-time employees in the U.S. do not participate in exercise or other wellness-related activities either through their workplace or on their own. But teleworkers are more likely than their office-based counterparts to pursue fitness activities outside of work.

These are among the findings from a survey of full-time employees sponsored by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit Inc., a Madison, N.J., provider of workplace and individual wellness solutions.

“Despite employers investing millions of dollars to promote employee health, almost half of the U.S. workplace does not budge,” said flexible workplace strategist Cali Williams Yost, the CEO of Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit Inc.

Among the survey findings:

  • One-third of employees (33 percent) said they participate in a workplace wellness or well-being program, with those ages 30 and older more likely to do so than their younger colleagues.
  • 20 percent said that even though their company offers a wellness program, they don’t participate.
  • 25 percent said there is no wellness/well-being program at their workplace.

On a positive note, nearly 20 percent noted that despite not participating in a corporate wellness program, they pursue wellness opportunities on their own, with teleworkers (24 percent) significantly more likely to pursue out-of-office wellness activities than those who work in an office (17 percent).

“Teleworkers use their inherent sense of discipline, focus and ability to not only get their work done, but also pursue a healthy lifestyle,” Yost said. “It’s a positive outcome of telework that employers should value,” given that an increasing number of employees now work from a remote location.

Training employees on how to manage their nonworking hours to improve work-life balance significantly increases employee wellness participation, the findings show. While less than half of those surveyed (47 percent) said they received such training, those who did were significantly more likely to say they participate in corporate wellness programs (43 percent) than those who did not receive training (24 percent).

“With guidance, these employees have learned how to fit work and other priorities, including exercise and doctor visits, into their lives,” Yost explained.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow me on Twitter.

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