In the wake of the great report published this month by the Global Wellness Institute, an issue to watch is how workplace wellness programs are going to evolve in the foreseeable future.

Different studies (including one just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine: suggest that penalties, rather then financial rewards, work best – a principle that economists call “loss aversion,” or as human beings, we care more about losses than gains.

This infers that, increasingly, employers will use sticks instead of carrots – taking away insurance coverage or taxing those who don’t engage rather than offering discounts on health insurance premiums. In countries like the U.S. where judges are ruling against efforts to challenge wellness programs as illegal and discriminatory, these new findings will compel an increasing number of companies to switch to penalizing as opposed to incentivizing and rewarding. 

All this supports our strong conviction that wellness will eventually become more mandatory.

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