Let’s get real — most of the people living in the United States spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Meaning that if there aren’t strategies in place for employee wellness, health risks go up, and then the state of your workers’ health gradually declines.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017, roughly half of workplaces in the U.S. offered some type of health and wellness program with 30 percent offering a wellness program to address fitness. Check out the top three reasons health and wellness are vital in the workplace.

1. Improves Company Morale

Giving employees access to workplace wellness programs not only gives them the incentive to live healthier lifestyles, but employee wellness programs can also show a significant difference in the way your employees perceive you. Incorporating workplace wellness programs is the best way to tell your employees that you care that they stay in good health, to promote a culture of health in the office, and, ultimately, to improve the entire work environment.

Small changes like encouraging a walking group, adding healthy food to the company cafeteria, having the food vendor add healthy snacks, having promotional materials about the dangers of tobacco use and high blood sugar, etc. can have a significant effect on employees’ quality of life and improve employee engagement.

Depending on the type of wellness program you implement, it’s important to let your team members know that you care about their health risks. A successful wellness program incorporates multiple levels of overall wellbeing. For example, a comprehensive workplace wellness program will address physical activity, a biometric screening program, mental health services (especially stress management programs), financial incentives for wellness, financial wellness, safety, and a social work environment. Depending on your wellness budget, it is important to make employee health a top priority.

2. Reduces Healthcare Costs

Incorporating wellness initiatives in the workplace can encourage employees to make lifestyle changes that decrease unhealthy behaviors, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, create smoking cessation, encourage a healthy body mass index (BMI), encourage healthy eating, and increase overall healthy behaviors. According to a report published in 2013 by the RAND Corporation, participation in a wellness program for five years was associated with lower health care costs and health care use. The report also found that providing “incentives for completing an HRA [(Health Reimbursement Account)] are effective”.

By having a wellness program that provides health risk assessment, health screenings, and health education services that assist them in finding the best insurance plans through Health Quote Gurus; you can help your employees find the health insurance plan for them and their spouses. By comparing health insurance plans with Health Quote Gurus, your employees can find the best plan (with the best pricing) to fit their individual needs when it comes to health insurance premiums and health benefits for their specific health status. Whether it’s Affordable Care Act plans, group health benefits, or Medicare supplement insurance; Health Quote Gurus can get you the best pricing to keep your company’s health care costs low.

Plus, workplace wellness programs prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, obesity, cancer, and other chronic conditions; therefore, saving you even more money on healthcare costs.

3. Reduces Absenteeism

Sure, for a large employer, the individual level may not matter much (you may not notice when the occasional person calls in sick or plays hooky). However, for small employers, employee participation can be crucial to worker productivity.

According to Chron, wellness programs increase worker attendance by decreasing “the reasons for absenteeism”. Their examples include providing health information about proper nutrition and flu shots decreasing sick days, a fitness trainer reducing back injuries (and help with weight management and high blood pressure), or intervention from a wellness committee that educates everyone on health information about spreading common viruses; which reduced the number of employees that will get sick during cold and flu season (reducing absenteeism even further).

Employee health should be a top priority for any worksite to reduce health risks, to reduce health spending, to keep your team members content, to increase job performance, and to provide different ways for employees to learn healthier behavior and disease management (and incentive to do so).