For the financially-minded, working for a large corporation has its advantages. Sure, the whole corporate grind is a little like having your soul sucked out through your nostrils by some mechanical proboscis, but they are at least willing to pay handsomely for said use of your soul.
My company has some good perks. The 401(k) matching is unequaled by any other large company I’ve worked for, and the employee stock purchase plan discount is great. Their benefits package is awesome, good health insurance choices, life insurance, disability, and dismemberment (as unlikely as that seems in my line of work, I often wonder whether the elevator has it out for me, so better safe than sorry.) I even get a free parking space in a city where others are paying hundreds of dollars every month for parking.
But this week I discovered a whole other set of benefits that I’d vaguely heard about but had never looked into. It seems I have been overlooking some health and wellness benefits that pay me to stay in prime shape for soul-sucking.
The word “wellness” sometimes seems a little silly to me. When I hear “wellness” I think of Gwyneth Paltrow, peddling her Goop bullshit, and this vague notion that you can fix your life if you buy enough organic, free trade, gluten free and expensive salt lamps, raise your vibration by putting stickers on your body that have been “programmed to an ideal frequency,” and close your ears to anything even remotely negative while judging others for their ignorance. While I do believe that you can improve your ability to cope with stress through meditation, and increase the flexibility of your body through yoga, and even shift the way you think by reframing situations and recognizing habits of thought, I chafe against the new-age obsession with positivity. There is something holier-than-thou about it that just makes my skin crawl. (Yes, I know I’m being judgy too. I’m not pretending to be enlightened.)
Anyway, this probably explains why I never bothered to look into my company’s wellness benefits. But here’s what I learned this week: they will PAY ME to participate in the program. By completing different activities, I can earn one-time payments, or ongoing monthly payments. For example, by having a health screening, in which they measure height, weight, cholesterol and other health markers, I get $75. YEAH! I know, right?!
Warm up that stethoscope and bring it on!
I spent some time yesterday combing through the program to figure out what I would have to do and what I could earn, and here is what I came up with: by having a phone consult, doing a health screening, talking to a wellness coach, logging physical activity for a couple of weeks, and watching some videos, I can get $100 in one-time rewards. If I talk to a health coach, track activities related to diet and exercise, talk to a nurse about chronic conditions I have, talk to a dietitian, and subscribe to Weight Watchers, I can earn $75 PER MONTH.
At one point I found myself wondering why they would pay us to do these sorts of things, on top of all the other benefits we get. I suspect that taking steps to stay healthier will, in the long run, be less expensive than increased insurance premiums due to large claims. I would be curious about the underwriting tables on this one, because you know a company doesn’t shell out money from the goodness of their board room hearts. Having health and wellness benefits that pay the employee HAS to somehow also pay the employer.
Is that too cynical? Maybe. Whatever the case, it is still a valuable benefit, and it wouldn’t make sense to overlook it. I’m even willing to retrain my brain to associate something more positive with the word “wellness.”
Two birds, one stone
As I consider the program, it starts to seem more like a job in itself, or at least work, but this kind of work is consistent with health goals that I have for myself. Not only am I taking steps to improve my mental health, I also have goals around improving my physical health. So why wouldn’t I participate? It would help with not only my health goals, but also my financial goals.
I am not sure about Weight Watchers. I was subscribed for a while, but ended up not using it. It was $19.95 per month out of pocket, and that would cancel out some of the financial benefit while adding little value. I’m open to revisiting that at some point, but for right now I’m going to pass.
It was pretty cool to discover all of this. I am starting to schedule all of the consults and phone calls and health screening stuff to get started, and then will see what kinds of things I can get going for the monthly rewards (which will total $60 if I pass on Weight Watchers, since they would only cover $15 of the monthly subscriptions.) I’m actually kind of excited to try something new. Adding to my bottom line by reducing my bottom line, knowwhatimsayin?