A recent story went viral about a Japanese company offering an extra six days of paid vacation per year to non-smokers to make up for the time employees who smoked took for cigarette breaks throughout the day. The company is hoping that this incentive will encourage employees who smoke to quit the unhealthy habit for the extra days off. While the impact of this program remains to be seen, it demonstrates how organizations around the world are taking creative action to help their employees adopt healthier lifestyles.
An unhealthy employee population can have a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line, including healthcare costs, absenteeism, tardiness and a decline in overall productivity and employee engagement. To combat this, employers are enacting programs that aim to provide better balance and promote wellness both in the office and at home.
An active wellness program makes good business sense. It has been found that for every $1 an organization invests in a wellness program, it can save $3 to $5 in healthcare costs as employees reduce their risky behaviors, such as smoking and obesity. While smoking and obesity are risk factors that can be easily seen and identified, the top risk factors organizations face when it comes to the health of their employees are often unseen, such as high blood pressure and stress. For this reason, it is critical that organizations choose the right wellness program to directly address the changes needed in health-related behaviors of their workforce.
Culture plays a large role in an organization’s ability to help employees lead a healthier lifestyle. An organization must provide a culture that is supportive of wellness goals and initiatives, allowing employees the time to establish proper work / life balance and offering programs promoting healthy habits. For some organizations, these initiatives could mean putting a temporary stop to production or extending a deadline, so the workforce can participate in wellness programming; but in the end, their workforces will see the benefit to the overall productivity and engagement of its workforces.
Employers can activate many simple and low to no cost initiatives to promote a healthier workplace, such as encouraging employees to leave their work stations for lunch, participating in mid-day yoga sessions, or promoting walking meetings, a stroll around the office building or scheduling stretch breaks throughout the day. Promoting movement throughout the day is a great way for an employer to help employees alleviate stress – one of the most significant, unseen risk factors.
Since it is often difficult for employees to leave their home life at the door when they begin their workday, it is also important for employers to consider the wellbeing of their workforce after business hours. Many organizations provide individualized support to their employees through coaching and counseling to address personal risk factors and health goals for such things as eating, exercising and overall work / life balance.
For organizations looking to assess the needs of individuals within their workforce, the Ulliance Life Advisor Wellness programs provide significant direction in getting an organization on the road to a healthier workforce. The Life Advisor Wellness programs assess each organization’s greatest health risks and sources of stress for the employee population through a combination of surveys and biometric screenings to understand both the mental and physical health of the workforce.
For more information on the Ulliance Life Advisor Wellness programs, please call 866-648-8326.