The spy who hired me

THE NEW YEAR is the moment when people vow to improve their fitness. They join gyms, swear off alcohol and adopt detox diets. These resolutions usually do not last beyond January.

But some employers try to help their workers stick to their goals by offering “wellness” programmes. One of the longest-running examples began in 1979 at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), an American health-care company. The plan promotes weight loss, smoking cessation and efforts to reduce blood pressure. The firm claims it reduced medical costs by $400 an employee per year, and resulted in fewer workers suffering from heart disease or high blood pressure.

Yet an examination of the data by Martin Cherniack of the University of Connecticut* found that in 2005-08, a sharp jump in alcohol use, depression and stress among J&J employees occurred. This coincided with a period when the firm had a target of lifting productivity by 9% a year....

via Business Feeds

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