By now, the link between healthy and productive employees should be evident. While many companies are becoming increasingly concerned about the health of their employees, few companies have a streamlined strategy for promoting it within their workforce.
The first part of solving a problem is defining it. Several definitions exist today of wellness, but we believe that employee wellness is the extent to which a company’s workforce is in good physical and mental health.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Does this mean we expect every employee to be at their desks every single day? No. People get sick. It’s part of life. And we’d rather our employees stay home with their germs than coming in and sharing them with us. Still, there’s a lot we do to make sure that our company promotes the health of our employees. Here are a few of our secrets.
1. Measure Everything (Including Yourself)
Unless you work for the New England Patriots, you probably don’t need to worry about how much your employees can bench press. When we talk about the physical wellness of our employees, we’re talking about helping ensure that folks can bend down to tie their shoes without pulling a muscle. The good news is there is a proven way to get these results.
Conduct a health risk assessment so you can understand how healthy your workforce is and track the effects of your other wellness initiatives.
2. Choose Fruit, Not Fat
Ditch the vending machines. Candy provides a sucrose sugar spike that is both unhealthy and doesn’t promote focus, while fruit is comprised mainly of fructose sugar and fiber, allowing for slower digestion without the 3pm crash.
That’s why you should look to stock your break room with healthy snacks like apples and nuts. There’s even a few break room delivery companies that specialize in healthy alternatives. Considering Americans spend most of their waking hours at work, offering healthy options in the office will have a significant impact on your team’s health and productivity.
3. Move More than Yesterday
Using the results of your health risk assessment as a benchmark, create a physical fitness program that moves as many of your employees into the low-risk category as possible. The goal isn’t to create a working army of Captain Americas; it is to help employees live in such a way to reasonably prevent chronic illness.
According to a recent study on the health status of the US labor force, dyslipidemia and hypertension are the two most prevalent chronic conditions in the workforce, affecting 29% and 20% of all workers respectively. Fortunately just making simple adjustments like taking the time to stretch each day, taking walking breaks, or committing to standup meetings can help mitigate these ailments.
Employers can also offer access to corporate pricing on gym memberships or full on-site gym access so employees can fit in complete workouts during the work day.
4. Be Mindful of the Mind
If the body is a temple, then the mind is a Bema.
It’s important to care about the mental health of a workforce too. Why? According to a recent study on the health status of the American workforce, 21% of the workforce experiences at least one mental or substance use disorder each year.
Sadly, not enough employees are seeking treatment. According to that same study, 36% of workers with depression and 50% of employees who abuse alcohol do not seek treatment even though they are likely insured for it. A law passed in 2008 requires coverage of services for mental health, behavioral health, and substance-use disorders to be comparable to physical health coverage.
At Fond, we do our best to build awareness around the health plans, coverage, and benefits we have in place for treating mental and substance abuse issues. Organizing the occasional company event around mental health benefits can be a powerful reminder to employees that sleeping, unplugging, de-stressing, and taking time for oneself is essential to high performance, both inside and outside the workplace.
Employee Wellness is Good for a Healthy Bottom Line
Focusing on employee wellness not only will keep your employees more productive, it’s also a great way to keep those growing health care costs in check. A recent Harvard report found that medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent on employee wellness, and absentee-day-costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent on wellness.
You don’t need to mandate that your employees suddenly start living healthier lives. Just create an environment for wellness to flourish, and the rest will take care of itself.