Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Small businesses could benefit from workplace wellness programs: study

Aurora, CO – Small employers are a good target for the introduction of workplace wellness programs, according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.

For the study, Pinnacol Assurance, a Colorado workers’ compensation insurer, offered a free health risk management program and implementation to small-business policyholders. More than 250 employers hosted the program, and about half of the 6,507 eligible employees participated. According to the study’s researchers, one-third of the participants were overweight, one-quarter were obese, one-fifth reported depression, and another fifth had chronic fatigue.

Previous research has indicated that although more than three-quarters of large employers offer wellness programs, only one-third of small businesses do. In the new study, researchers found that small-business employers were more willing to adopt wellness programs if they were provided for free by insurers and tailored to the worksite.

The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.