When we start out to lose weight, we think in terms of pounds and weeks, and fitting into that dress for an event. It is a sprint toward an immediate goal.

But wellness, assessing where you are at, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there is a really a marathon. This is an analogy Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) wellness business consultants give inquiring companies that want to start a wellness program.

As health care costs continue to rise, companies are looking to reduce employee health care costs first and foremost. But the longer view can lead to even more substantial improvements. A healthy workforce has an increase in productivity, lower absenteeism and fewer worker compensation claims.

“The first thing we talk about is the need to create a wellness culture within the organization, and that it’s important to create a work environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said BCBSNE wellness consultant, Kathy Nellor. “We do an initial assessment of the overall health of a workforce and provide a plan of four to five objectives plus the tools to get started.

The key is to invest in incentives for employees to take that first step toward wellness.

“Wellness doesn’t have to be expensive to get results,” said Nellor. “The first step is always the most difficult, but we have hundreds of organizations across Nebraska that are taking our wellness challenge,” said Nellor.

Get more info about our monthly health challenges. It’s a marathon worth running.