Corporate Wellness Programs: Online vs. On-site
Corporate Wellness Programs are growing all over the country as a way for companies to invest in their employees. When it comes to starting a program, the biggest question is which way to run it—Onsite or Online? Both ways have definite benefits and drawbacks and you need to take a look at what you wish to accomplish with your program. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which way to run your wellness program.
Online programs are getting more and more popular because they provide an inexpensive way for smaller companies to run things on their own. While online programs are great at automation and reporting, they are not so great at engagement.
The best thing about having an online wellness program is that tracking is simple and easy for employees. Most people are online the majority of the day so it is easy to log on to record at work or at home. Most online platforms have an app for on the go tracking and reminders.
A lot of the responsibility for a wellness coordinator is to send in reporting for events, classes and campaigns offered to evaluate program success to management. Online platforms take the stress out of it and make running reports as easy as sending an email. Any information can be show for better assessment of each campaign or the program overall.
Online Wellness programs are a lot less expensive than on site because you are paying a monthly or yearly fee for hosting rather than an hourly wage or salary for a person to be at your location. Costs depend on how many services your online program offers. There are free programs out there that allow for tracking and emails only, and more expensive programs that will design and run your wellness program for you.
Because everything is automated with most online programs, notifications and reminders can be set to send out at regular intervals taking away a lot of the work for a wellness coordinator. These can be set up ahead of time to remind employees when tracking is due, and for event times and updates. The more communication you can have with your employees the better your participation will be and this is the best thing about online programs.
While online programs do have many benefits for keeping up to date with information and tracking, the major downside is that they are impersonal. Since there is no face to face contact with a wellness coordinator, relationships are harder to build and the program usually ends up only benefiting those who are already healthy or those who are motivated by an incentive. One on One coaching and being comfortable with a wellness coordinator who is on site and well known is beneficial to capture the employees who need a little more motivation or guidance to get started.
On-site programs are the traditional way to run a wellness program and having someone at your location has many benefits for long-term engagement, but can be expensive for smaller companies just getting started. An on-site program means that you have a wellness coordinator or staff members at your site running things instead of having it run via online platform.
Customized to your company
On-site programs (run either by HR personnel or a 3rd party) are the best way to customize your program to the needs of your employees and the goals you wish to accomplish. When the programs are on-site, a coordinator can work directly with upper management and HR to find out the culture of the company, the goals of the investment and the unique challenges employees may face to see desired results.
Personal Coaching & Face-to-Face Contact
When a program is on-site, there is usually someone running point that everyone knows as the face of wellness. This can either be a paid employee, or a team of employee volunteers. The benefit is that all employees know who to go to for questions/information and can build relationships. Health is very personal, and a lot of employees take a while to join a wellness program until the feel comfortable with the person running it. Being able to sit down face to face and talk with employees about their personal health concerns and be a support system and motivational partner is the biggest benefit of having a program on-site.
On-site programs have all the same benefits of an online program; it just costs more because you are paying for a person to be doing all the work. For some companies though, the cost is worth seeing the results.
No Matter which way you choose to run your wellness program, your employees will benefit. Consider your goals, challenges and budget to determine which is best and remember that you can evolve as you grow!