Demographic and technological transformations are changing the nature of work
in our society. As these changes occur the comprehensive model of Employee Wellness
Programs described above will evolve and continue to develop. If current trends
continue, the workers of tomorrow will be older, more racially and ethically
diverse, increasingly female, and will often be located off-site. In the later
case, technological advances are making it possible for more and more consultants
to conduct their work from their homes. Thus the very character of the worksite
will change and so must our efforts to deliver Employee Wellness Programs. As
an example, in the future it is likely that a great deal of health education
programming will be delivered through personalized interactive multimedia formats,
conveniently supplied to any number of employees through telecommunication systems.
As technological innovations increase in the workplace, Employee Wellness Plan
consultants will face new health related challenges. In the past, some have
assumed that technology would make workers more efficient, thereby allowing
employees to work less, while being more productive. In reality, increases in
technological innovation have simply allowed more of us to take our work with
us where ever we go and feel guilty for not being increasingly productive.
This trend may absorb greater amounts of leisure time that is normally devoted
to recreation and relaxation. Subsequent increases in stress and fatigue will
ensure the continued need for effective Employee Wellness Programs.
When considering the scope of Employee Wellness Programs described in this
article, many will think of substantial investments made by large organizations.
The reality is that 60% of individuals working in the U.S. work for a corporation
of less than 100 employees (U. S. Bureau of Census, 1988). Due to economy of
scale, it has been difficult and expensive for small corporation owners to supply
adequate health care insurance and prevention programming for workers.
Employee Wellness Plan consultants must understand this challenge and develop
the method to overcome these obstacles. The evidence is clear that much more
could be done to advance the health of our society through the workplace. As
change agents, health educators must work to empower employers and employees
through education of the benefits of Employee Wellness Programs.