High health is a state of high capacity and overall well-being characterized by effective levels of personal energy, stamina, mental focus, and emotional composure alongside an absence of common illnesses. Through reducing risks for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental health conditions, wellness programs are expected to stave off disease and illness. These types of fixes deliver modest and at times temporary improvements but not the expected increases in overall health and well-being, as analysis by Rand and others have revealed and as evidenced in the heated blog discussions about whether or not workplace wellness programs are beneficial. Increasing employee health and well-being requires a design shift from fixing problems to building high levels of health, capacity, and well-being. Redesigning employee wellness: essential practices for high health. Employee wellness programs need to modernize by pursuing health and capacity building as objectives. In just about every survey I’ve conducted of employee wellness trends, we find that roughly 10 to 12 percent of the employee population is actively engaged in practices that support personal health and well-being, regardless of whether the company has a wellness program.
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