WWCMA Monthly Poll Results
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WWCMA Monthly Polls and Results

Every month the WWCMA Newsletter features a section with a monthly poll question about a wellness related topic and the previous month's poll question results.  These polls provide valuable insight into our community and the various aspects of wellness programs. 

Have an interesting topic in mind for a monthly poll? Email us and we'll consider it for a future newsletter!


August Poll Question & Results

In August's monthly poll, we asked:

Where is your organization in their utilization of Telehealth/Telemedicine?

a. My organization is currently offering this to employees
b. My organization is considering offering this to employees
c. My organization has not yet considered offering this to employees


The results showed that two-thirds of respondents are currently offering this to employees. This is slightly higher than the results of Mercer's 2015 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans which revealed that Teleheath offerings are being used by roughly 30% of large US employers. Telehealth and Telemedicine are becoming increasingly attractive as a means of keeping healthcare costs down while ensuring employees engage in preventive healthcare. There is even a growing space around telemental health, which typically involves the use of a mobile app to reduce stress, anxiety, or depression. However, those considering this service should be aware of the potential challenges, including malfunctioning technology, privacy issues, and follow up care. Time will tell whether Telehealth is here to stay or simply, a temporary trend.


September Poll Question & Results

In September's monthly poll, we asked:

In what stage is your current wellness program?

a. Development: Information gathering and/or goal setting
b. Engagement: Strategy design and/or implementation
c. Outcomes: Evaluating outcomes and measuring success


We found that no respondents consider their program to be in the development stage, which was defined as information gathering and/or goal-setting. Responses were split nearly evenly between those in the Engagement stage and those in the Outcomes stage. This is not surprising considering the results from the annual Kaiser/HRET survey which showed that over 80 percent of employers with 200 or more employees are offering wellness or health promotion programs. Yet many organizations fail to develop an evaluation strategy, making it difficult to track outcomes and build internal support.


October Poll Question & Results

In October's monthly poll, we asked:

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your company's efforts to address obesity and weight management in the workplace?

1. Our company does not address it at all.
2. Our company does very little to address it.
3. Our company does an average job of addressing it.
4. Our company addresses it and does a great job.
5. Our company makes great efforts in this area and does an excellent job.


According to results of our monthly poll in October, most of you feel that your organization is doing very little to address obesity in the workplace. These results are surprising given the growing number of employee wellness programs, but they also shed light on a complex issue. Programs designed for the workplace are most often prevention-focused and centered around lifestyle, including increasing physical activity, quitting tobacco, or reducing stress. But what happens when those engaging in the programs are not the ones who need it most? When it comes to obesity, prevention and treatment are two separate issues that should be approached with separate solutions.

Individuals with a larger amount of weight to lose may be better served by disease management (DM) programs than lifestyle management programs. Unfortunately, employers may not be properly leveraging DM programs to best serve their highest risk employees. A recent article called chronic disease management, "the biggest missed opportunity in wellness" (source). Perhaps it is an issue of awareness - employees are simply not aware their employer offers a DM program. Or, it is possible that disease management programs are less attractive to employees than lifestyle programs, lacking the "fun" factor that the prevention-focused programs offer.

Despite the difficulty in leveraging disease management programs, there is strong evidence that they bring a far greater proportion of savings on healthcare costs (87%) than lifestyle management programs (13%). Findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a disease management program averaged savings of nearly $8.00 per employee per month. 

Organizations looking to improve the weight status of their employee population and effect change on their healthcare costs should do two things: First, offer high quality disease management programs; and next, be sure to promote and communicate them in a way that motivates employees to participate.


November Poll Question & Results

In November's monthly poll, we asked:

Which of the following Financial Wellness components are offered at your organization (check all that apply)?

a) Retirement planning
b) Estate planning
c) Investment planning
d) Basics of budgeting
e) Debt management
f) One-on-one financial counseling


In last month's poll we asked about the Financial Wellness components offered at your organization. The majority of you said that Retirement and Investment Planning are offered, while Estate Planning and One-on-One Financial Counseling were a close second. The least popular offerings were Debt Management and Basics of Budgeting, which may be the result of an aging workforce. Younger demographics could benefit from education on budgeting and debt, while those closer to retirement likely have more interest in retirement income planning and estate planning for aging parents. Because of the varied financial education needs among different demographics, it is important to consider one's audience when creating a financial wellness strategy for your organization.


December Poll Question and Results

In December's Monthly Poll we asked 2 questions:

1. On average, how many hours of sleep do you need per night to feel rested?
a) Less than 6 hours
b) Between 6-7 hours
c) Between 7-8 hours
d) Between 8-9 hours
e) More than 9 hours
f) None of the above (I rarely feel rested)

2. Which of the following National Sleep Foundation "sleep hygiene" habits do you practice? Check all that apply.
a)  I go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
b) My bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold.
c) My bed is used only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. 
d) I avoid large meals before bedtime.
e) None of the above.


In our December poll we asked you about your sleep duration and habits. The results revealed that nearly 78% of you say that you need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to feel rested. This aligns with national recommendations for sleep. Then there were a lucky 19% of you that reported feeling rested with less than 7 hours per night, and an unlucky 3% never feel rested. 

When it comes to sleep hygiene, most of you are incorporating at least one healthy habit into your nightly routine. The most popular responses were about consistency in bedtimes (going to bed at the same time each night and waking the same time each morning), creating a pleasant sleep environment (dark and a comfortable temperature), and avoiding large meals before bed. However, the results also showed that more than 60% of you are using your bed for activities other than sleep (reading, watching TV, listening to music). While these activities are not always disruptive to sleep, it is important that any activities done in bed do not involve phone, tablet, or computer screens. These have been shown to negatively impact our ability to fall and stay asleep. 

Connect With Us
Contact us at info@wwcma.org
The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is the preeminent, independent and objective resource for health promotion in the workplace and champions wellness programs to help employers encourage healthy employees, healthy families, and healthy communities across the Commonwealth.