Per a recent study, as many as 82 million Americans with employer-based coverage have a pre-existing condition. Ranging from chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease to life-threatening illnesses like cancer, these kinds of health issues have a significant impact on a person's finances, emotions, and faculties.
Encouraging small lifestyle changes can be beneficial for both your employees and your company.
Promoting occupational wellness helps:
- Reduce absences
- Decrease accidents and work-related illnesses
- Ease stress for employees covering for those absent
- Emphasize corporate responsibility
- Increase staff morale
Unsure where to start implementing wellness? Here are some suggestions for quick wins and long-term solutions that can help you begin promoting a healthy lifestyle for your employees:
Help them move more
For those in an office setting, most of their day is spent sitting at a desk. Encourage your employees to take walk breaks or park their car further away to get more steps in each day. Remind them to use opportunities like phone calls to stand up, do calf raises, practice balancing on one leg, etc.
Quick win: Set up step competitions in the office--people can use their phones or fitness trackers and can participate on teams or individually.
Long-term goal: Establish a health club in your workplace, set up a running club, or create a health care cost reduction initiative to entice employees into taking a certain number of steps each day.
Remind them to drink more water
Staying hydrated is a daily necessity. Most people need about four to six cups of water each day to function. Swapping soda intake and afternoon coffee for water will not only decrease a person's sugar intake (and your calories), but he or she will be more hydrated as well.
Quick win: Create reminders for employees via email, and make sure that message is a part of safety meetings. Employees should know that drinking water is more than a reference--it's a health concern!
Long-term goal: Remind employees to take water breaks, provide them with office water bottles and either install water coolers or make sure there's another easy way for them to get water quickly.
Encourage them to get enough sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining good health, mentally and physically. It helps the brain work properly and prepare for the next day. When employees develop bad sleep habits or suffer from long-term sleep loss, this could increase the risk of a work-related injury. For example, people whose sleep is out of sync with their body clock (such as shift workers) might need to pay special attention to their sleep needs.
Quick win: Add messages to safety team meetings, send out emails or put up flyers reminding employees of the importance of sleep and rest.
Long-term goal: Take away the distractions throughout the weekend, encouraging policies that let employees put their phones away from 9 p.m.- 6 a.m. Not only do these policies reduce stress, they've actually proved to make the workplace more productive.
Data shows that exercise enhances productivity, reduces stress and improves collaboration. Not only does this benefit your current workforce, but it's an enticing talking point for recruitment and employee engagement.
Quick win: Set up employee teams for recreation leagues and form teams during community events. You can also form a company team to participate in local walks that promote healthy lifestyles.
Long-term goal: Give employees access to exercise equipment and other training possibilities at work, or work with fitness centers in your area to provide employees with lower cost gym memberships.
At Hytrol, we promote wellness by having an on-site medical clinic and full-service health club at no charge for employees, their spouses, dependents and even guests. From personal training and recreational activities to annual lab work and nutrition guidance, we promote these resources so anyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle all year long.
Most employees spend eight or more hours on the job. Offering an outlet for them to live healthy lifestyles can foster employee wellness and spark engagement within the company. So why not start the initiative today?
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About the author: Lauren Matheson Ryan is Hytrol's Health Club Coordinator and has been working in the health and fitness field for years. Lauren attained a B.S. in Health Promotion in 2012 and an M.S. in Exercise Science in 2014. In addition, she is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Certified Primary Group Exercise Instructor, an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, and has completed specialty trainng for PiYo LIVE, Zumba and SilverSneakers.