Imagine this: instead of dragging into work or worse, calling in sick (again), your employees arrive each day filled with energy and creativity. They're glad to be there, and they're full of ideas they want to express, modify, fine-tune and put to work for the company. Not only do they have ideas, but they also have the energy to carry them out. Your staff is ready to give you their best, and that's good for your business.
With fewer sick days and lower health care premiums, business savings accumulate fast.
And then there's the fun factor. People who feel good have more fun! You'll feel better about coming into the office as well.
But is that all just a dream, or can it happen? Let's look at a few facts.
Worker illness and injury costs U.S. employers $225.8 billion annually or an average $1,685 per employee. In 2015, Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health reported that business spent an average $693 per worker, which was a record. Let's do the math: $1,685 - $693 = $992. Almost $1000/employee potential savings there.
7 out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. result from chronic preventable diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that account for 75% of the nation's health spending.
What does "preventable" mean? It means that simple lifestyle changes will vastly reduce these diseases if not eradicate them. These lifestyle changes center around three areas that are part of any wellness program: regular exercise, healthy eating, and preventive care. Also, wellness programs often include smoking cessation assistance for those who require it.
The average cost of health insurance varies by state, stretching from a low of $180 (Utah) to a high of $426 (Alaska) in 2017 under the Affordable Care Act. These numbers are for a 21-year-old, and those over 60 years old could expect to pay as much as three times more. Cost-sharing reduces the likelihood that employees will seek preventive care, one important step to improving wellness and reducing health care premiums. While the current health care premium outlook in the U.S. is uncertain, one thing we do know is that costs are likely to continue rising unless we see significant structural changes. With that fact in mind, companies need to look closely at things they can do to reduce health care costs for themselves and their employees and make preventive care an easy option.
The Mayo Clinic reports that laughter stimulates many organs, activates and relieves your stress response and soothes tension. How likely is a tired or depressed employee to laugh? An employee dragging around many extra pounds or experiencing poor health as a result of devastating chronic illness?
A May 2013 issue of Harvard Health Publications reports that "regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration, and mental sharpness." Further, diets rich in key vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids help promote cognitive function, according to several studies.
Convinced yet? How do you make it happen in your company?
Many businesses rely on specialists to implement wellness programs that include health screenings, practical and accessible educational sessions, personal coaching, smoking cessation, stress reduction guidance and opportunities and healthy eating, weight loss and exercise challenges. Some offices offer weekly 3/4 bushel boxes of produce to employees free of charge initially, then at a reduced rate. Since nutritional experts recommend a diet rich in plant foods, 80-90% of a day's calories, in fact, this box is a great encouragement!
There are many things you can do in-house as well! In fact, any successful program requires a workplace that is health-conscious and integrates wellness into the company's structure. Use the lunchroom and snack areas as places to create healthy eating awareness, offering incentives for healthy contributions. Are there areas where employees can create food gardens to tend and enjoy during breaks? Areas inside or outside where they can get in some exercise? What challenges can you create? A fitness tracker makes a great holiday gift for employees. They'll know how much you value them -- and will want to do more to achieve good health. The numbers don't lie!
Most of all, remember the social component of your health program -- inside your workplace but also beyond it. "Social relationships—both quantity and quality—affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk."
As your workplace creates a community around good health, health improves...but your community can grow beyond your workplace with health trackers and online social fitness.
inKin is here for you, ready to be part of your corporate wellness plan. Start your free, no strings attached 30-day trial today and see the positive results in your company.
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