5 Things You Need to Know About Working in Corporate Wellness
In a perfect world, you would spend your lunch hour in a yoga class, stretching from your cramped cubicle and achieving inner balance. But the commute there and back doesn’t allow enough time to pull it off. If only there were a way to incorporate some activity without stepping foot out of the office.
You constantly watch as your coworkers mindlessly chomp on unhealthy snacks. You smell them as they return from smoke breaks, and you wonder how anyone could lead a healthy lifestyle when they’re bound to an office desk so many hours of each day.
You’ve heard about companies implementing corporate wellness programs and feel like that could be the perfect use of your abilities and interests. But what is corporate wellness and what do you need in order to work in this growing field? Keep reading to find out.
5 interesting insights about corporate wellness careers
1. Corporate wellness comes in many shapes and sizes
Have you heard of those companies with amazing (and healthy) cafeterias? Or companies that offer workout classes during lunch breaks or prizes for getting in a certain amount of steps? These are just a few examples of a well-rounded trend in companies with corporate wellness programs.
Health educators working in corporate wellness can inspire healthy living, giving employees more satisfaction and incentive to stay with a company. They can also save companies money by proactively preventing work accidents and medical conditions.
Corporate wellness initiatives can include anything from offering medical assessments at work to earning vacations through weight loss competitions. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA), these following services are components of corporate wellness:
- On-site fitness facilities
- Recreation programs
- Health risk assessment
- Biometric screenings
- Health education programs
- Stress management
- Weight loss programs
- Smoking cessation programs
- Disease management programs
- Back safety/training programs
2. Corporate wellness initiatives are on the rise
Depending on the size and budget of the company, one or all of the components listed above may be offered to employees. The length and breadth of that list may seem surprising, but the truth is that more and more companies are beginning to focus on employee health and wellness.
The reason for this is twofold. First of all, it doesn’t only improve employees’ overall health and wellbeing, but it’s also been shown to increase productivity and workplace happiness among participants. Secondly, there are numerous benefits for employers who place an emphasis on corporate wellness. Some of the positive effects include boosts in morale and workplace safety, along with decreased benefits costs and lower turnover rates.
As you can see, corporate wellness is a win-win for employers and workers alike.
3. Corporate wellness jobs can vary greatly
Corporate wellness professionals work on-site with companies. By meeting with employees directly in their work environment, they can instill positive habits to have lasting effects on workplace health. This is an ideal position for someone who’s interested in healthcare and helping others, but enjoys the structured life of corporate America.
But not all corporate wellness positions are the same. Large organizations often employ one or more corporate wellness professionals to serve their workers in-house. But smaller businesses don’t necessarily have enough money or employees to justify a full-time hire. These companies are more likely to outsource their programs to external vendors.
If you were employed full-time with a company, your schedule and position would most likely mimic a typical 9–5 office job. If you found employment with an outside agency or firm, you would likely be required to travel and create your own schedule to provide service at multiple work sites. In either instance, the programs and initiatives vary greatly from company to company.
4. You’ll work with a variety of people
Whether you work for a company or an agency, you will surely be working with a diverse group of individuals. Many companies offer incentives to employees who take part in their corporate wellness programs, meaning some participants will be more committed than others.
Some individuals will be excited to take part and eager to make positive lifestyle changes. Others will be less enthusiastic, simply checking the boxes necessary to earn their reward. Some will be familiar with the activities and habits you are implementing and others will need extra education and training.
You’ll also be working directly with business executives in order to understand their organizational goals. You will work alongside them to help plan programs to meet their individual needs, which may include implementing fitness programs, incorporating healthy food offerings or even rearranging or introducing new office equipment that promotes wellness.
5. You must possess a broad range of skills
In a position that works with so many people, it shouldn’t be surprising that you’ll need to have a variety of skills in your arsenal. It’s important to be able to collaborate with others when putting together wellness plans for each group.
Once goals and the budget are established, you’ll need to tap into your leadership abilities in order to implement and manage your wellness programs. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to have a passion for healthy living and a desire to help others reach their personal goals. An upbeat, motivational attitude will help you inspire participants to step outside their comfort zones and strive to improve their health.
Another often overlooked trait that many successful corporate wellness professionals share is organization. You’ll be tasked with handling many clerical tasks as you oversee the day-to-day operations of your programs.
Inspire change in the workplace
Instead of sitting back and witnessing the unhealthy habits found in so many corporate environments, you could be a part of the movement to improve employee health and wellbeing. You’ve already got the qualities and passion it takes to excel in the field. A degree in public health, nutrition, exercise science or health and wellness can provide the practical skills and hands-on training needed to land a career in corporate wellness.
Learn about other career options that may interest you in our article, What Can You Do With a Health and Wellness Degree?