The Cost of Unwellness

All Executive Health August 25, 2016

While the debate about the effectiveness of wellness plans continues (you can read up on it here, here and here), a study by the Global Wellness Institute has calculated the cost of unwellness, and they yielded some pretty overwhelming results.

Here are the highlights:

  • Unwellness at work costs the U.S. economy $2.2 trillion a year
  • Broken down:
    • $550 billion in lost productivity
    • $1.1 billion for workers with chronic diseases
    • $250 billion in work-related injuries and illness
    • $300 billion in work-related stress
  • The conclusion: not investing in corporate wellness, and by extension adding to the cost of unwellness, is really expensive.

But it’s not just about the money. Not investing in the wellness of your employees sends them a pretty strong message, and it’s a negative one. Only 1 in 3 workers feel as though their company cares about them. Of the employees who felt uncared about, 84% said this affected their mental health, 75% said this affected their happiness and 68% indicated they had physical health issues.

You need happy, healthy and engaged employees to have a successful, productive and affluent company. Nothing drives a business more than its people. And yes, unwellness will take a sizeable chunk out of your bottom line, but without a workforce that feels appreciated and cared about, your bottom line will be in trouble anyway.

So, will a wellness plan be effective in driving down healthcare costs? There have been success stories, and as wellness plans become increasingly more popular, we’re sure to hear more. Time is sure to tell a definitive ROI. But will a wellness plan benefit your company culture and employee morale to boost company performance? Definitely.

Diabetes, Heart Disease and Other Chronic Conditions Costind Companies Billions.” Benefit News. 
Non-wellness at Work Costs us 2.2 Trillion Report.” Biz Journals. 
Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work? Institute for Health and Productivity Studies. 
What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” Harvard Business Review. 
Does Corporate Wellness Work?” Liveplan. 
The Impact of Wellness Programs on America.” The IHCC. 

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