Monday, May 9th, 2016
Your Business Depends on Their Health
With no relief in sight, health care costs and loss productivity due to injury, illness and disease are increasingly reducing your company’s profit and efficiency. In 2015, the CDC reported that workforce productivity losses linked to illness/injury absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or $1,685 per employee. With preventable diseases, work place injuries and conditions such as obesity, Diabetes, and stress related hypertension rates skyrocketing nationwide, what can you do to save your ship from sinking under this burden?
Education and awareness is essential to creating a healthier workforce. Many people avoid physicians all together out of fear, time constraints or financial reasons. Make sure your employees know and understand their insurance options and consider periodic health related guest speakers or bring in a mobile clinic for onsite consultations or exams. There are several online health surveys that your employees can take privately. Knowledge is power!
Encourage employees to be physically active and to eat healthy during their work day. How about an office treadmill or stationary bike or create a lunch time walk club. Create competition and comradery by starting programs and incentives for physical activity. Fit Bits and phone apps make this easy today. Who walked the most steps that week? Did someone achieve a weight loss goal? Think about your office layout. Are employees limited to their desk or work space all day long? Relocate your printer or copier to a central place which will force people out from behind their desks and to get moving. Not only are you encouraging healthier habits, thereby limiting future potential illnesses, but you are fostering a fun and interactive work environment.
An easy way companies can encourage healthier eating is to the change the options provided in lunch rooms and vending machines. Replace sodas with bottled water and less sugary beverages. Offer less salty, processed foods like fruits, nuts or granola. And nothing screams office interaction like the old fashioned water cooler! If your employees love to order out for lunch or have pot luck get togethers, encourage healthier choices.
Many people still smoke and while they are unable to smoke inside, smoke breaks waste your company time and, depending on where they are allowed to smoke, expose others to second hand smoke. Be prudent about where you place designated smoking areas. Ensure they are not close to high traffic areas, windows, or doors. To encourage quitting all together, place a limit on frequency of smoke breaks. Look into offering smoking cessation programs for employees and their families.
Physical health is easier to see and measure than mental health but don’t overlook it. Personal well-being is directly linked to productivity and health maintenance costs. For instance, grief and stress are a part of everyone’s life but did you know that a recent study showed that the hidden cost of grief is upwards of $75 billion in hidden costs from low productivity, accidents and errors due to decreased focus on the job and stress leads to actual physical damage and disease. Recognize and acknowledge mental health issues before they spiral out of control. Create daily stress relieving activities; this can reduce lack of focus as well so employees can return to their tasks refreshed and with increased attention to detail.
By being the type of employer who concerns themselves with their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, you are creating a happy, inviting work place with little turn over, healthier workers, increased productivity and lowered health care expenditures. A real win-win for all involved!
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