Workplace wellness programs range from smoking cessation classes to high-tech gyms. Among the more novel approaches: At Fannie Mae, employes pay a "motivational fee" of $1 per exercise class, which is refunded if they attend at least 80 percent of the sessions. Most of the time, at least half of the participants qualify. At L.L. Bean, in Freeport, Maine, 34 percent of the employes who were tested -- 154 -- were found to be at high risk for heart disease. About 75 employes joined the L.L. Bean Heart Club, a 15-week program on nutrition, exercise and relaxation. Eight months later, 61 percent percent had reduced cholesterol levels by an average of 38 milligrams. Four percent quit smoking, 38 percent started exercising and a significant number lost enough weight to convince them to put on bathing suits.
Helen Quigley, health consultant to L.L. Bean, sends personal letters to employes and conducts "lunch box raids to see who's eating bologna sandwiches." Says Quigley: "It's like running a business. You know which people have problems, and you go after them." At Franklin Life Insurance Co. in Springfield, Ill., pregnant employes reported increased morale and less absenteeism, by 4.5 days, after 18 months of prenatal education, including nutrition. In many Johnson & Johnson offices, traveling employes can participate in a 12-week "correspondence" weight-loss program. It includes weekly phone or mail feedback and two in-person weigh-ins.