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Valuing Employee Health and Wellness

Friday, March 13, 2015
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
Human Resources Directors
From: 
Mark D. Reinhold Associate Director, Employee Services, and Chief Human Capital Officer
Subject: 
Valuing Employee Health and Wellness

This memorandum provides information and guidance for Federal agencies on “Building the Business Case for Worksite Health & Wellness,” as part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) continual commitment to helping agencies develop and improve worksite health and wellness programs, and specifically in support of the June 23, 2014 Presidential Memorandum on Enhancing Workplace Flexibilities and Work-Life Programs.

Over the course of this calendar year, OPM will host a worksite health and wellness campaign, concentrating each quarter on a different aspect of successful program implementation.  The education and guidance is intended to help agencies increase the availability and use of worksite health and wellness programs to the maximum extent possible.  The campaign will include informational fact sheets, webinar trainings, and facilitated discussions among those responsible for the implementation of agency worksite health & wellness programs.  OPM will send information about specific webinars and forums to agency health and wellness coordinators. 

The theme for the first quarter of 2015 is “Building the Business Case for Worksite Health & Wellness.”  OPM is providing the attached fact sheets as guidance to assist agencies:

• Business Case for Agencies Fact Sheet
• Business Case for Employees Fact Sheet
• Business Case for Communities Fact Sheet
• Creating a Culture of Health Fact Sheet

Below are summaries of each fact sheet: 

Benefits for Agencies
As work demands increase, budgets tighten, healthcare costs reach an all-time high, and Federal employees reach retirement eligibility, the Federal Government must take steps to ensure our continued success and continuity.  A healthier workforce can improve productivity, increase employee engagement, reduce costs associated with healthcare, disability, and workers’ compensation, and make each agency an employer of choice.  For research-based evidence and specific details of health and wellness program benefits to the agency, please see Attachment 1:  Business Case for Agencies Fact Sheet.

Benefits for Employees
Worksite health and wellness programs provide a powerful opportunity for Federal agencies to improve their employees’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being particularly since employees spend so much of their time at the workplace (Americans who work full-time typically are at the office for more than one-third of the day, five days per week).  These programs help employees effectively manage their health – including the demands placed on their professional and personal lives – and also can save employees money and time associated with reactive treatment of illnesses and other medical conditions.  Furthermore, these programs demonstrate employers’ commitment to the well-being of their employees – an important condition associated with increased job satisfaction, morale, and performance.  For more information, please see Attachment 2:  Benefits for Employees Fact Sheet.

Benefits for Communities
Worksite health and wellness programs are part of the National Prevention Strategy’s Action Plan, designed to improve the health and wellness of the entire U.S. population.  By integrating health promotion into routine operations, Federal agencies can help employees and their families – especially those from difficult-to-reach populations – acquire health-related knowledge and adopt healthy behaviors.  Agencies’ commitment to their employees’ health education and prevention efforts can also mitigate the spread of communicable diseases and improve overall health in communities.  For more information, please see Attachment 3:  Benefits for Communities Fact Sheet for more information.

Creating a Culture of Health
To build a culture of health, Federal agencies must have commitment and support from all levels of the organization.  The first step is to align the worksite health and wellness program with overall agency goals.  For practical tips and descriptions for creating a culture of health, please see Attachment 4: Creating a Culture of Health.

Additional Information
Employees should contact their agency’s Worksite Health and Wellness Coordinator for more information.  Agency human resources offices are encouraged to review the material available on OPM’s Health & Wellness website and contact OPM’s Work-Life Office at worklife@opm.gov for assistance.

cc: Worksite Health & Wellness Coordinators