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Physical health takes back seat among employee wellness concerns

Posted On: Oct. 8, 2015 12:00 AM CST

Physical health takes back seat among employee wellness concerns

BOSTON — While most workplace wellness programs are designed primarily to improve employees' physical health, employees say physical health is far less important than other elements of their total well-being.

Employees at Watertown, Massachusetts-based Bright Horizons L.L.C. polled in 2014 said physical health and wellness accounted for just 5% of their overall well-being, according to an internal study. Issues in their personal lives accounted for 37% of employees' total well-being; resilience, 24%; and financial wellness, 18%.

Job satisfaction and stress accounted for 9% and 7% of employees' well-being, respectively, according to the study that was presented Thursday during the National Business Group on Health's 29th National Conference for Health, Productivity and Human Capital conference in Boston.

“We're spending a lot of time and a lot of money on physical health,” said Lucy English, a St. Louis-based senior consultant at Horizons Workforce Consulting Inc., a subsidiary of Bright Horizons. “I don't want to understate the importance of physical health, because it does hit our bottom line, but we need to understand it in context.”