By : Cynthia Sweeney
"As wellness programs are becoming widespread in large and small companies, the results are positively impacting the bottom line. North Bay employers are advocating healthier, more productive employees and larger companies are benefiting from lower insurance rates.“As people are spending more and more time at work, these programs are proving effective,” said Jeannie Calverley, director of employer and community relations at St. Joseph Health in Santa Rosa. “When I first got here in Sonoma, five years ago, people got this glazed look in their eyes ‘What is workplace wellness?’ and there was a lot of confusion. People are a lot savvier now, and want to take it to the next level.”
Wellness programs are attractive to employers for many reasons including increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, a reduction of health claims, and in avoiding catastrophic claims, for example, if one should have a heart attack on the job.
“You also build a culture and climate where employees feel valued. And when the programs are offered as a benefit, it helps to recruit and retain top talent,” Calverley said.
Comprehensive wellness programs sometimes offer incentives to their employees. Nationally, in 2015, 79 percent of employers said they now offer financial incentives to encourage employees to participate in wellness programs. That’s up from 74 percent in 2014.
The National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments survey found that employers expect to spend an average of $693 per employee on such programs this year, up from $594 in 2014 and $430 five years ago.
In these programs, employers typically offer such financial incentives as cash, gift cards, reduced health care premiums or contributions to health savings accounts to encourage employees to participate in a range of wellness-related activities.
The most popular incentive-based employer-sponsored wellness programs this year are biometric screenings, which 72 percent of employers said they plan to offer, and 70 percent said they intend to offer health risk assessment programs in 2015.
Providing wellness programs for employees is also a way for larger companies to lower their insurance rates.
“Once you get over 50 employees, the insurance company will look at the claims and lower the rate,” said Andrew McNeil, principal with Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma. “It takes between three and five years of offering the programs to see any return on investment, however, and that can be an eternity for small employers.”
The majority of larger companies Arrow works with have wellness programs in place, McNeil said. Many small businesses (under 50 employees) don’t implement wellness programs as the program itself cannot directly affect the monthly health insurance premium. That’s because the premiums are a pooled risk, and filed by the health plans with the State of California. (The under 50 employees definition changes to under 100 employees in 2016.)
Still, while small employers that offer a wellness program can’t impact the cost of their group health insurance, a well-designed wellness program has the potential for reducing absenteeism as well as increasing employee morale. Larger employers that offer a wellness program may see over time a reduction in their medical rates (assuming the wellness program is implemented correctly) as the medical rates are tied to the overall health risk of the employees and their covered dependents, especially if the wellness program is targeted to specific medical problems such as obesity.
Several entities in the North Bay have a variety of wellness programs available to employers including St. Joseph Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health and Whole Foods.
Kaiser Permanente has been involved with wellness programs for over 70 years. Today, they partner with employers to help them define what their role is in their employee’s health.
“Are they just providing benefits, or do they need to take on advocacy?” said Tom Carter, Vice President of Workforce health consulting and Kaiser-On-the-Job, for Kaiser Permanente Health Plan
Kaiser takes a look at the company’s particular workplace culture, and assesses what risks there are for the employer. They provide and help implement tools for, among other things, running a healthy meeting, moving more in a sedentary environment, and managing stress.
Kaiser also partners with schools and the National League of Cities. Wellness toolkits on their website are free at businesshealth.kaiserpermanente.org/workforce-health-resources/. A contact page is also available on the site.
At St. Joseph’s, Calverley, who has a degree in psychology, believes in the mind-body-spirit connection and creates programs that boost employee’s intrinsic motivations. Among St. Joseph’s programs is Live Healthy Wine Country which was launched January 2015, which seeks out employers with seasonal or around-the-clock employees who have difficulty gathering at the same time. They also offer assessments, health screenings, wellness plans and Work@Health. Contact Jeannie.Calverley@stjoe.org.
Sutter Health offers worksite wellness programs in Marin and Sonoma Counties. Highlights of Sutter’s program include a personal health assessment and report card that provides employees a view of their health status with recommendations, a group health report that provides an employer a HIPAA compliant view of the health status of their workforce, and ongoing health education and campaigns. For more information visit sutterhealth.org/employerprogram.
Whole Food’s Healthy Eating Specialists are available to give presentations outside their stores to employers, schools, or any other organization wanting education on eating healthy. "
Sweeney, Cynthia. "Work Wellness Programs Progressing to the Next Level." North Bay Business Journal. 6 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
BY : SHARON FLORENTINE
"Traditional employer-sponsored wellness programs are often viewed as a way for businesses to reduce healthcare costs, but their true value may lie elsewhere; as incredibly effective ways to increase productivity, engagement and in their use as a recruiting, hiring and talent retention tool.
Wellness programs are an extremely popular benefit; according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 75 percent of the more than 380 HR professionals surveyed say their firms offer some type of wellness program to their employees.
In the past, these benefits have focused on areas like weight loss and management, smoking cessation and exercise and their cost has been justified by citing the savings organizations will gain by lowering overall healthcare costs. But the problem, according to Josh Stevens, CEO of wellness incentive solutions firm Keas, is that those monetary gains are a fiction, and only a fraction of those who need these programs use them.
Traditional Programs are a Waste of Money"To be frank, traditional wellness programs are a waste of money; the employees who need them most woefully underutilize them and only a small segment of your employee population who are already healthy participates in these offerings, "says Stevens.
To really get healthcare costs down, what's needed is an integrated health management solution that links employees' health data with available benefits to better coordinate prevention and care, according to Stevens. Health Management solutions, which replace existing wellness programs, acknowledge that to change health behavior and outcomes you have to integrate and simplify the benefits experience for employer and employee and make these programs easily accessible and personalized.
Without the back-end data integration across multiple benefits vendors and front-end user experience allowed by this integration, you end up with a useless, siloed wellness program used by a painfully small percentage of your employees. The most effective way to drive value from any health or wellness program is to maximize long-term engagement in these programs by identifying the potential for health concerns and showing employees how their benefits can help overcome those. "For instance, an employee participates in a biometric screening and finds out she is pre-diabetic. This employee, if provided a health management program, would ideally be using an application for health consumers that included an online and mobile consumer-driven experience that offered specific steps to take to combat her health risks. This integrated health management program would easily highlight relevant health benefits offered and show the employee how those benefits could be used to address their health challenges," says Stevens.
Health management solutions can drive true, meaningful behavior change across organizations' at-risk populations. Employers must first leverage existing health benefits and integrate these seamlessly with incentive programs into an easy-to-access web and mobile experience. This cost savings due to a reduction in administrative overhead is significant even before addressing employee health outcomes.
Beyond Technology, Wellness Programs Must Focus on CultureMany progressive organizations already are offering more innovative and unique approaches to wellness programs that are a better fit for their employees' lifestyles and interests, like an on-site yoga studio, cafeterias offering organic food, even manicures and massages as part of their employer brand.
The average tenure of an employee is between three to five years at any organization, which makes it difficult to measure the short-term ROI of wellness programs in terms of healthcare cost savings for individual employees, according to Donna Levin, co-founder and vice president of Policy, CSR and workplace solutions at Care.com.
But before you discount the value of your wellness initiatives, consider how they fit into your company culture and your employer brand and how they can be used to increase intangible factors that are crucial to business success: engagement, productivity, loyalty and morale, for example. "It sounds hokey, but showing employees you care about them by investing in their well-being can improve engagement, loyalty and productivity. I know that here at Care.com, the sign-up list for our on-site manicures and massages fills up in minutes, and there's a lot of excitement around the yoga studio we installed in our new office space," Levin says.
Research from Gallup shows that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health -- engaged workers are less likely to be obese and have chronic conditions, as explained by Harvard Business Review. Numerous studies point to the fact that highly engaged workforces result in more profit for their employers; engaged and healthy employees miss work less often, are easier to retain, and are significantly more productive, says Keas's Stevens, and that organizations with highly engaged employees achieve greater net income than organizations whose employees lag behind on engagement.
Wellness Benefits Help With Recruiting and HiringWhether or not wellness programs help business curb risinghealthcare costs is a matter of debate; it can be difficult to attach a dollar amount to healthier, happier, more engaged employees, but wellness programs also provide value as a recruiting and hiring tool.
Today, employees and especially job-seekers, almost expect a certain level of wellness benefits -- perks like discounted gym memberships and on-site facilities are considered fairly commonplace. More lifestyle-type wellness benefits, like the weekly manicures and onsite yoga studio Care.com provides, are gaining popularity too, says Levin. "From an employer's perspective, these offerings have value. There's also the cost of doing nothing. Meaning, if employees and job seekers expect wellness programs and you don't offer them, then that's going to put you at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent," Levin says."
Florentine, Sharon. "Why Wellness Programs Are Key to Your Company's Health." Careers/Staffing. CIO, 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.
By : Douglas R. Stover and Jade Wood
"When it comes to company wellness programs, for too long the prevailing belief has been "If you build it, employees will come."This approach has led companies to spend $50 to $150 per employee per year on conventional programs that target physical health -- or an estimated $6 billion per year for the wellness industry overall -- according to studies by the RAND Corporation. However, Gallup has found that only 24% of employees at companies that offer a wellness program actually participate in it. What's more, only 12% of employees strongly agree that they have substantially higher overall well-being because of their employer.
Instead, a majority of employees believe their job is a detriment to their ability to achieve higher well-being. Given the great financial investment and concerted effort to take care of their employees, where are companies going wrong?
Through Gallup's research and experience, we've identified three key areas that either support or derail even the best of intentions:
How Your Company Defines Well-Being
When thinking about well-being, too many companies focus primarily on physical health and fail to address the whole person --which is why so many well-intentioned programs fall short. To have a positive impact on employees' well-being, companies must move beyond a sole emphasis on physical wellness to embrace all the elements that enable employees to live a thriving life.
Those elements encompass how people experience their lives and can be considered the currency of a life that matters. They're also the crucial elements that help determine whether you're getting the best out of your employees every day.
THE GALLUP-HEALTHWAYS WELL-BEING 5Gallup and Healthways have developed a comprehensive, definitive source of well-being measurement, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being 5. This scientific survey instrument and reporting experience measures, tracks, and reports on the well-being of individuals and organizations. The five essential elements of well-being are:
When you examine your company's current investment in wellness, does it focus on health and wellness alone, or does it encompass the other key elements that influence how your employees experience their lives? Developing thriving employees requires taking a whole-person approach. After all, employees bring every aspect of themselves to work each day.
Expanding your well-being approach to encompass all five well-being elements will pay dividends by helping your company improve the bottom line and outperform competitors. Gallup's analysis shows that adults who are thriving in all five elements report 41% fewer unhealthy days, are 65% less likely to be involved in a workplace accident, and are 81% less likely to look for a new employer, for example, than adults who are thriving in just Physical well-being alone.
How Your Company Culture Supports Well-Being
Employees' perception of organizational support -- the extent to which they believe their company values their contribution and cares about their well-being -- has a significant influence on their likelihood to participate in a well-being program. What shapes your employees' current perception of well-being? And what are the potential barriers that prevent them from participating in a well-being program?
Your company can offer a stress management course, but if employees can't participate because of structural or cultural barriers, it's not going to go very far toward helping them reduce their stress. Well-being must be built into the fabric of the organization so employees don't have to sacrifice performance or take personal risks to improve theirs.
Businesses that take a holistic view of well-being recognize that their organizational identity -- why they exist, how they are known in the market and how they live and work -- influences an employee's ability to achieve higher well-being.
A comprehensive approach requires:
Creating a culture of well-being also requires companies to modify their structure and policies to facilitate well-being. One hospital listened to why its staff were not participating in its myriad on-site well-being initiatives and opened an on-site childcare facility in response. This move met the needs of its employees, enhanced their well-being and engagement, and improved employee engagement and morale.
The Role Your Managers Play in Supporting Well-Being
Managers play a key role in improving employee well-being by modeling how they improve their own well-being -- and by helping employees to improve their well-being too. Gallup has found that direct reports of supervisors with thriving well-being are 15% more likely to be thriving six months later. At your company, do your managers carve out time to take vacation, go to the gym or attend their children's school events? If managers don't do these sorts of things, employees will feel they can't either.
At Gallup, we know one of the most important decisions companies make when engaging employees is simply who they name manager, and this is true for encouraging well-being as well. Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units, and engaged employees are 28% more likely to participate in a wellness program offered by their company than are average employees. Engaged employees also are seven to nine times more comfortable talking about their well-being with their supervisor, and those conversations are crucial in motivating and mentoring employees.
Our experience shows that managers play a key role in promoting well-being by:
Stover, Douglas, and Jade Wood. "Most Company Wellness Programs Are a Bust."Business Journal. Gallup. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/181481/company-wellness-programs-bust.aspx>.
"A Massachusetts man lost his job at a Scotts Miracle-Gro lawn and garden center in 2006 when a routine drug test came back positive. The finding: nicotine. Company leaders were cracking down on smoking and otherunhealthy behaviors they saw as bad for the bottom line.That same program saved another Scotts employee’s life. In this case, the worker—following the advice of a company-paid health coach—had some medical tests done and discovered that he was likely just days away from a massive heart attack. Two stents inserted into his coronary arteries saved him from a life-threatening blockage.
These are just two examples of how U.S. employers are dangling “carrots” and swinging “sticks” to prod workers to change their behavior and better their health. Companies have long had an interest in keeping workers healthy, productive, and satisfied while cutting health-care and insurance costs. Increasingly, though, they are using incentives—and disincentives—to rein in these costs’ runaway growth.
So far, tobacco use and obesity are getting the most attention. To prompt workers to stop smoking and lose weight, employers are, among other things:
According to a 2008 national survey by Harris Interactive, 91 percent of employers “believed they could reduce their health care costs by influencing employees to adopt healthier lifestyles,” wrote two Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) experts in the July 10, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Michelle Mello, a professor of law and public health in the Department of Health Policy and Management, and colleague Meredith B. Rosenthal, an HSPH associate professor of health economics and health policy, spelled out the legal parameters of employer-sponsored wellness programs as they stand today.
According to surveys cited by Mello and Rosenthal, 19 percent of employers with 500 or more employees offered wellness programs as of 2006. Almost 40 percent said they planned to offer monetary rewards for healthy behaviors within two years.
By the rulesEmployee wellness programs have been around for decades. But one likely impetus for these programs to offer a new round of health incentives was the issuing, in December of 2006, of final rules on group health plans under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These rules reduced the uncertainty about what was legally permissible, which was probably holding some insurers back from moving in this direction, Mello says.
Among other things, HIPAA limits the value of incentives that group health plans can offer to less than 20 percent of the total cost of health insurance (meaning premiums paid by both employer and employee). This rule allows for up to $2,420 for a family insurance policy costing $12,100 a year. HIPAA rules also distinguish between incentives based on participation in a program and incentives based on achieving certain health standards, such as quitting smoking or attaining a healthier weight as reflected by the body mass index (BMI).*
There are caveats, however. “If the reward is tied to achieving a health standard but there’s no alternative standard available to people who can’t reasonably be expected to meet that standard, it would violate HIPAA,” Mello notes.
Assume, then, by way of example, that “Company X” requires its employees to be nonsmokers and have a BMI under 30. The company’s rationale, backed by the medical literature, would be that (a) people who smoke are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer, and other costly and debilitating diseases and (b) those with a higher BMI are likely to develop these as well as other problems, such as diabetes, all of which could erode their productivity and ratchet up their and the company’s health care costs. HIPAA might allow the incentive to help slightly obese workers reach a BMI under 30; however, the law would also require that morbidly obese workers receive the same incentive to meet a less drastic and more realistic target BMI.
All of this is perfectly legal, as long as group health plans abide by HIPAA and insurers and employers abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act, plus other applicable federal and state laws. “It’s rare for courts to find that obesity constitutes a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Mello says. “Courts have also consistently found that nicotine or tobacco use does not constitute a ‘disability.’” She and Rosenthal point out, however, some courts have ruled “morbid obesity” to be an “impairment” if it can be linked to a “physiological cause.”
Still other federal laws governing health incentive plans include civil rights laws, pay and age discrimination laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and the tax code. State laws may also limit a company’s ability to impose health standards. Several states have statutes that explicitly disallow hiring or firing workers based on their tobacco use.
Step one: health screeningTo screen employees for unhealthy behaviors, many wellness programs use a health risk appraisal as a first step. “Health risk appraisals tend to be broad instruments that collect information about clinical conditions, health-related behaviors, and medical history,” says HSPH’s Rosenthal. “Most include questions related to tobacco and alcohol use, even to things like seat-belt use. Some are more tailored than others.”
Such tools also reflect medical standards for health indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol, established by clinical experts based on evidence from patient studies. Disease-specific organizations, such as the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA), post benchmarks on their Web sites.
For example, the AHA puts the high end of normal blood pressure at 120/80. ADA describes blood glucose levels of 70 to 130 mg/dl before meals as normal. Some doctors urge people to take action if their total cholesterol level is above 200, for example, or when their BMI reaches the overweight and obese range.
In August of 2008, the state of Alabama—which already charges tobacco users $25 per month in insurance premiums—announced that as of 2010 it would charge additional monthly premiums for employees who choose not to participate in the state’s wellness program. The state employs more than 37,500 people. (See “Alabama: Targeting Highest-Risk Workers, above”).
Alabama’s chief goal is to identify the people most at risk first, because their levels for BMI, cholesterol, and blood pressure are far above what is considered healthy. “We try to identify people who are at highest risk so they can get the care they need,” explains William Ashmore, chief executive officer of the State Employees Insurance Board (SEIB). Contrary to early news accounts, he says, SEIB is not imposing a “fat tax.” Employee representatives have endorsed the program, he says.
Ashmore says “high-risk” standards that trigger incentives are:
“Alabama is probably barking up the right tree,” says Rosenthal. “Some experts say setting very tight standards and encouraging people to get to them may be missing the point. Getting people below this very high level is much more important in terms of mortality and morbidity than getting people to look like [fitness experts] Jack LaLanne or Kathy Smith. Getting people from a seriously high risk situation to a somewhat less but still risky situation may be the most cost-effective approach.”
Total U.S. health care spending: $2.3 trillion
$7,600 per person (1)
Approaches very widelySome companies are using carrots only. IBM, for instance, offers cash payments for completing certain assessments. Says IBM Well-Being Director Joyce Young, MPH ’81, “We have programs aimed at every risk” (see “IBM: Carrots Only” above). The programs include some on-site fitness centers and, due to the widely dispersed work force, Internet-based assessments. IBM has spent $130 million on wellness since 2004. That figure includes more than 100,000 payouts last year.
A “Smoke-Free Rebate” that IBM offered for three years was recently discontinued, Young says, because the percentage of workers who smoked had plummeted to less than 10 percent. The company still offers a smoking cessation program through an interactive Web site and telephone counseling. IBM’s newest incentive, a “Children’s Health Rebate,” aims to tackle childhood obesity.
One company’s wellness efforts were featured in a cover story in Business Week in February 2007. Scotts Miracle-Gro, headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, built a $5 million “Wellness Center” in 2005 near its headquarters and maintains a medical clinic, a pharmacy, and a fitness center. (See “Scotts Miracle-Gro Gets Down to Details,” above) Scotts adopted a controversial tobacco-free policy in 2006. It no longer hires tobacco users in certain states. Meanwhile, its wellness program aims to encourage smokers to quit.
But trouble emerged when, in September of that year, a man named Scott Rodrigues, who had been working at Scotts on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for about two weeks (of a 60-day probation), took a required drug test that turned up nicotine. Scotts, whose no-tobacco policy was slated to take effect the next month, let him go. Rodrigues sued. As Business Week noted, the outcome of the case—pending in federal court as of November 1—is difficult to predict because there is so little case law on this narrow topic.
Attorney Lewis Maltby, founder and president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, says employers should be cautious in implementing wellness programs that may infringe on privacy and personal interests. But he says he knows of no other cases like the one in Massachusetts. That includes Michigan, where Weyco Inc., now part of health-benefits manager Meritain Health, had not only a no-smoking policy that included mandatory tobacco testing of workers, but a no-smoking policy for spouses as well. No Michigan statute prohibits that kind of action, Maltby says.
Do incentives really work?According to several studies, the cost-effectiveness of health promotion programs varies widely. The Wellness Councils of America maintains that the “return on investment,” or ROI, of such programs is $3 or more for every $1 spent. However, little has been published so far on the ROI of incentives alone. Many experts agree that it takes two to three years for any cost benefit to show up. Even in the best-case scenarios, companies would likely see slower growth in health care costs rather than cost reductions.
“It is difficult to tease out which activity is responsible for what behavior,” explains HSPH alumna and IBM wellness program head Joyce Young. Any change in benefits prompts a cost change, and “You have to control all the changes to be able to see the effect of a health-improvement change,” she says. “It takes years before you see trends.”
As for IBM’s physical activity program, Young and her collaborators at the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center have determined that it does deliver. From 2003 to 2005, participants—53.8 percent of eligible employees—saw their health care costs rise by $291 a year, compared to $360 for nonparticipants. At Scotts, spokesperson Keri Butler says 80 percent of employees take advantage of the company’s Wellness Center. The payoff? Costs are rising, but at a rate “lower than the national average,” she reports.
For her part, HSPH’s Rosenthal says she recently explored whether people who take health risk assessments actually do make behavioral changes to improve their health. “The results don’t suggest any dramatic effects,” she says. “It’s not clear whether assessment alone will be very effective.” On the other hand, there is reason to believe penalties will be. According to a body of research, Rosenthal says, “People are much more averse to losing something than they are excited about the possibility of a gain.”
Experts agree: More research is needed to learn just how effective workplace incentives and disincentives really are. When it comes to the daunting challenge of changing people’s health-related behavior, “carrots” and “sticks” may be the best tools available."
Citation : Hand, Larry. "Employer Health Incentives."News. Harvard School of Public Health, 1 Dec. 2009. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.
"Seventy one percent of consumers want their employer or health plan to offer a program or a set of guidelines that helps them manage their health, according to a recent Survey Sampling International poll of 562 consumers with company-sponsored health plans. The survey was commissioned by San Francisco-based HealthMine, which offers employers and health plans a white-label health improvement program for web and mobile devices.Another 75 percent of consumers want their health plan or employer to offer incentives to help them improve their health.
A smaller percentage, 66 percent of consumers, said that if their colleagues were in a healthy weight range, they should be rewarded with a discount on their health insurance. And 52 percent of consumers said that if their colleagues with chronic diseases adhere to their medication regimen, they should be rewarded for it.
HealthMine CEO Bryce Williams said the company commissioned the survey in light of the EEOC seeking fair rules and guidelines for voluntary employer wellness programs.
Just last week a report in The Hill quoted a senator as saying that the EEOC would be publishing new guidelines for employee wellness programs “very shortly”. One of the core debates about employer-sponsored wellness programs is what exactly constitutes a “voluntary” program.
“…Our survey indicates that consumers want employers to offer incentives and rewards to help them manage their health,” Williams said. “Our eight years of experience helping employers improve outcomes and lower costs using incentive-based personal clinical engagement reinforces this direction. We believe that the EEOC recommendations should enthusiastically support employers in meaningfully encouraging employees to improve their health.”"
Pai, Aditi. "Survey: 71 Percent of Consumers Want Employee Wellness Programs." MobiHealthNews. Chester Street Publishing, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.
"I once called a sick crew member from Virgin Atlantic to see how she was doing, only to be told that she couldn’t hear who was on the phone as it was too noisy at Ascot! It wasn’t much of an excuse but more of a case of not covering her tracks!
Ever since we started Virgin, we’ve always worked hard to keep our staff happy and healthy. We believe that if you look after your staff first the rest will follow – a happy workforce is a healthier workforce. Within our Virgin Management headquarters, we run a range of initiatives to help our people stay healthy. Fresh fruit and salad is available free of charge. We have a flexible working policy, allowing staff to work from home or stagger their hours. Plus all employees can take part in the Virgin Pulse programme, which monitors their exercise levels and encourages them to get active.
Last year we introduced unlimited leave for Virgin Management and Virgin Unite; and while the announcement caused a quite a stir, we’ve already seen the benefits. By treating and trusting our staff like the smart and capable adults they are, they return the respect with outstanding productivity. We truly believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.
These are just some of the initiatives we’ve implemented to help us achieve a healthy and motivated workforce. With these ideas in place, it’s rare we see staff members ‘pulling a sickie’ – instead they arrange their work schedule to help them best achieve a healthy work-life balance. "
Branson, Richard. "The Best Excuse I've Ever Heard for Calling in Sick." Virgin.com. Virgin, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/the-best-excuse-ive-ever-heard-for-calling-in-sick>.