There are now many corporations and organizations that offer an employee wellness program to it’s workers. Typically these workplace wellness programs offer many incentives for people to join such as providing free pedometers, fitness programs, health & medical screenings, health education classes, and other fitness related perks.
These programs are a win-win situation for both employer and employees. The employers will typically get cheaper health insurance rates and more productive employees who don’t call in sick as often. In addition, the employees get the free health perks mentioned above and some even receive monetary rewards for participating, such as the Virgin HealthMiles program that I am currently enrolled.
Virgin Health Miles Employee Wellness Program
Starting this year my employer began offering a new wellness program created by Richard Branson called Virgin HealthMiles. The Health Miles program works similar to many rewards programs in which you earn points that can be exchanged for either rewards or cash. The difference is that Health Mile points are earned for taking part in healthy lifestyle activities.
The main component to the HealthMile program is based on a free GoZone pedometer that each employee receives when they sign up. Then as long as the employee wears the pedometer each day, they’ll receive HealthMile points for reaching a certain threshold of steps for the day. For example:
- 7,000 steps earns 60 HealthMiles
- 12,000 steps earns 80 HealthMiles
- 20,000 steps earns 100 HealthMiles
Over time these add up and you receive monetary rewards during each quarter for meeting the following HealthMile point thresholds based on 2,000 HM increments:
- First 2,000 health miles earns $10
- Second 2,000 (4,000 cumulative) health miles earns an additional $10
- Third 2,000 (6,000 cumulative) health miles earns an additional $20
- Fourth 2,000 (8,000 cumulative) health miles earns an additional $35
Thus the total amount of money that one can earn over the course of 3 months is equal to $75. While this might not seem like all that much compared to your overall salary, it is possible to earn up to $300 per year. It’s a modest amount but if you are already exercising on a regular basis then it’s a no brainer. That extra $300 per year could end up being a great little Christmas fund or end of year contribution to your retirement account.
My personal experience so far with the HealthMiles corporate wellness program has been great. I wear my pedometer each day and have started walking home from work in order to hit at least 12,000 steps per day. When I first signed up for the program, I was surprised at how little I was actually walking and being active. Now that I’ve been enrolled in the program, I’ve actually lost about 6 pounds of weight and feel a lot better. So while some may balk at the meager monetary rewards, the health rewards by itself is more than worth it.
As I said earlier these types of wellness programs are a win-win for everyone, and if you work in a large organization, it’s worth it to check to see if they have an employee wellness program that you can sign up for. If they don’t, perhaps you may consider recommending they start a program which benefits everyone.
If you belong to an employee wellness program at your organization, I’d be curious to know what it is and how it has worked for you in the comments below.