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Jody Thompson's picture

Does your office have a gym? Do you have group exercise classes, weigh-ins, nutrition experts, and incentive programs for staying healthy? Wellness programs are a hot topic right now. Naturally, with out-of-control health care and insurance costs, companies are looking for ways to save money and keep their employees healthier.

Now, let me ask you something else. Do you sit at a desk from 8-5? Do you stress out about staying home sick from work, or staying home with a sick child? Do you get nervous thinking about your dwindling or non-existent paid time off? These issues effect not only our wellness, but our productivity at work.

The point we’re making is this: the traditional daily grind at the office doesn’t promote a holistic concept of wellness. Wellness programs are great, but does the company culture undermine those same programs? We have to think of wellness in bigger terms if we want to truly promote the health and productivity of all employees.

In a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), the company culture supports behavior changes that promote good health. In a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, changes in the behaviors of employees who had gone through ROWE training were then measured against the behaviors of those who hadn’t gone through training . The data shows that a Results-Only Work Environment isn’t just a morale booster, it’s a way to improve the health and productivity of your workforce.

There were 7 health benefits reported in the study.

1. More Sleep - participants in the study gained nearly an extra hour of sleep on average on work nights.

2. Energy - improved sleep quality and energy for participants.

3. Better health - participants reported better overall health than their counterparts who did not have the benefits of a ROWE.

4. Guilt-free time off - participants felt less obligated to work when sick. (This is a big deal when taking into account the costs of presenteeism)

5. Early treatment - participants were more likely to go to the doctor and receive treatment for illness (even when they were busy at work). When employees have control over their time and can get their work done in a way that makes sense for them, they tend to get treatment when they need it. Early treatment means better health and reduced medical costs in the long run.

6. Reduced stress - employees who had gone through ROWE training had an increased sense of control of their time  and reduced work-family conflict.

7. Mental well-being - participants in a ROWE suffered from less emotional exhaustion and psychological distress.

What employees need (and are increasingly demanding) is complete control over their time, so they can decide how to best manage every aspect of their lives, including work and wellness. This scenario is possible when workers are measured on the results they produce, not the amount of time spent at a desk.

Can your wellness program do all that?

Cross-posted with permission from

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