How does EAP Increase Employee Productivity?

How does EAP Increase Employee Productivity?
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 28-02-2023

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In recent times, companies have been actively investing in employee well-being and health (Ton, 2014). About 90% of the companies in the United States use corporate wellness programs which include basics of health monitoring, exercises, and training workshops to enhance well-being (Wieczner, 2013). Does this make you wonder why there is such an increase in the prevalence of such programs?

It is due to an increase in physical and mental health issues. Subsequently, a decrease in  employee’s health and well-being.Which reflects in the increase of insurances whose costs are is borne by the employers.

A metanalytic study reported that every $1 spent on wellness programs saves $3.27 in costs for health care as well as $2.73 in costs for absenteeism (Baicker et al. 2010). Even though these gains are significant, employers often overlook an important category of functional advantage from spending in employee health and wellbeing- employee productivity. Management scholars further argue that healthier employees are not just less absent and less expensive, but also they are more productive (Odegaard & Roos 2014).

There is no doubt that employees who are engaged in their job perform comparatively better than those who are not. It is difficult to engage at work when going through physical or mental difficulties. Even something mild such as a cold can hamper productivity and significantly reduce employee’s energy and focus levels. More chronic or long-term conditions such as stress are much worse for employee productivity.

There are two ways in which employee productivity is affected by employee wellness programs:

Capability and Job Motivation are two such factors.

The increase in productivity among employees is observable from two evident characteristics-already existing health problems and improvement of health conditions during the wellness program.

Following the above mechanism, there are four employee types that can be categorized who are likely to have productivity gains. Employees can be divided into two groups-

Pre-program employee health

  1. Healthy and
  2. Having health issues

Employee health improvement through the wellness program

  1. No improvement and
  2. Improvement

This gives us four employee types who may have increased productivity due to motivation gain from job satisfaction. It is notable that even healthy employees have room for health improvement (Gubler et al., 2018).

The first way employee wellness programs may improve motivation and subsequently, productivity is by showing the employer’s interest in their employee’s wellbeing and health, this also spans social, physical, and psychological aspects (Grant et al. 2007). Investing in corporate programs in order to improve employee wellbeing improves employee’s attitudes towards the organization, as it tells the workers about the organization’s concern for their quality of life at work and outside work.

Organizations offer wellness programs to all employees without learning that who might benefit. Sometimes, even employees cannot predict if they will benefit from the wellness. Thus, all the employee participants notice the increased support from the organization and feel motivation gains by job satisfaction.

While some workers boost their productivity, those who become aware of their illness are more likely to get motivated than their healthy co-workers. The wellness program s primary goal is to help employees identify and pay attention to their concerns, among other things.

The employees, with significant improvement from the wellness program, may have a grown feeling of gratitude for their employer for providing them with this service. Given how beneficial and useful this service is to the employees, they may feel compelled to give back to their organisation. (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006).

Another way employees can increase their productivity through wellness programs is by improving their wellbeing and successively strengthening their capabilities. If an employee was unaware of an existing health concern, the wellness program can help them identify it and further improve it. If an employee was already aware about their health issue, the wellness program can help them focus on their condition and nudge them to improve it through an action plan. The wellness program can benefit all employees in making positive changes in their lifestyle through different behavioural methods.

The program first creates solid improvement plans aiming to enhance health behaviors. Secondly, the program gives efficient reminders that build healthier lifestyle practices (Calzolari & Nardotto, 2017). The type of employees who may have the highest productivity gain are those who improve their health problems.

It is highly encouraged to build a healthy workplace culture where all the employees have a heightened sense of well-being. This will make them more engaged at work as well as prosper in various aspects even outside the organization.

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Attridge, M. (2019). A global perspective on promoting workplace mental health and the role of employee assistance programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(4), 622-629.

Bartlett MY, & DeSteno D (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17(4): 319-325.

Calzolari G, & Nardotto M (2017). Effective reminders. Management Science. Forthcoming.

Grant AM, & Christianson M, Price R (2007). Happiness, health, or relationships? Managerial practices and employee well-being trade-offs. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(3): 51-63.

Gubler T, Larkin I, & Pierce L (2018). Doing well by making well. Management Science, 64(11), 4967-4987.

Odegaard F, & Roos P (2014). Measuring the Contribution of Workers Health and Psychosocial Work Environment on Production Efficiency. Production and Operations Management 23(12): 2191-22.

Baicker K, Cutler D, & Song Z (2010). Workplace wellness programs can generate savings. Health Affairs, 29(2): 304-311.

Ton Z. (2014). The good jobs strategy: How the smartest companies invest in employees to lower costs and boost profits. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Wieczner J (2013) Your company wants to make you healthy. Wall Street Journal (April 8),



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