Changing Jobs Could Help Trim Employees’ Fat

Many overweight employees blame their weight on their jobs but do not take advantage of their workplace's wellness benefits.

Maybe it is time to get that extra workout in after a long day at work.

Culture of Health

63% of workers do not take advantage of wellness benefits offered by their employers.

A new survey by CareerBuilder says that 56 percent of U.S. workers think they are overweight and blame their careers for the added pounds. The survey, which sampled 3,420 full-time workers across industries and company sizes in the U.S., found that 2 in 5 workers have gained weight at their current job. Employees blamed sitting at a desk for too long, not having enough time and fatigue after work as reasons why they have gained weight.

Wellness culture in the workforce has long been studied, but the most shocking part of the CareerBuilder survey — which occurs annually — was that 63 percent of workers do not take advantage of wellness benefits offered by their employers, said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. In an email interview, Haefner said studies have shown healthy workers improve the workplace and said employee wellness needs to be addressed more critically.

Seth Serxner, chief health officer and senior vice president of population health at OptumHealth, a health services and innovation company, also sees well-being as a necessity in workplace culture. To get there, he said employers are challenged with engaging employees to be healthy, which involves strong communication, financial or social incentives, positive experiences and valuable wellness benefits.

Given the heavy reliance and evolution of technology, Serxner said having a consumer-centric approach by way of relevant, personalized apps and other technology will create more incentives for people to work out, eat healthy and change their wellness lifestyles, he added.

“When you start to look at things like getting enough sleep, managing financial well-being, being more mindful and resilient — those are things people absolutely care about,” he said.

Ariel Parrella-Aureli is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.