Hold on tight to that office-subsidized gym membership: According to a recent study, workplace wellness programs might not actually be saving your company much money. But does that mean companies shouldn’t have them?
Such programs are now quite common. In 2012, the RAND Corporation reported that 90% of US companies with more than 50,000 employees offered one. And that number can be expected to grow since the recently passed Affordable Care Acthas incentives for companies to improve their employees’ health (such as gym memberships, exercise spaces, or healthy food in the office).
Now a new study by RAND (paywall) examines PepsiCo’s Healthy Living wellness program. The study followed more than 67,000 eligible PepsiCo employees for seven years. While the program saved money for those who already had chronic illnesses like heart disease or diabetes—nearly $4 of savings for every dollar spent, mostly thanks to a 29% drop in hospital visits—healthy employees who used services like nutrition counseling and fitness centers didn’t see their health-care costs drop much.