Despite the struggle to contain costs, one human resources offering is proving resistant to cutbacks: company wellness programs.
Traditional health benefits cover employees who fall ill. But workplace wellness programs are aimed at preventative care—they encourage workers to adopt healthier behaviors so they don't get sick in the first place. Efforts typically focus on two areas: education, which can include classes or screenings and company support for better behaviors, such as smoking cessations programs, healthier cafeteria offerings, and bike racks.
A recent survey by New York-based human resources firm Buck Consulting found establishing a corporate culture promoting healthy lifestyle choices was a priority for 87 percent of respondents, and 65 percent reported they currently have moderate or extensive wellness programs.
Nineteen percent were expecting to increase their wellness budgets, while 59 percent predicted spending would stay the same. Among those bracing for company-wide cuts, 78 percent didn't think wellness would be harder hit than other departments.
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