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Workplace Wellness Adds to a Healthy Bottom Line

By Martha Michael

Healthy Employees

Whether you barely see your workmates or consider them your closest friends, the well-being of fellow employees can have a positive impact on the entire company. During Professional Wellness Month, also called National Employee Wellness Month, business owners are reminded that turning their attention to the health of their workers can boost their bottom line while also doing a service to staff members.

Employer Benefits to Workers’ Well-Being

Companies of all sizes can establish programs that make healthy alternatives available to their employees. There are measurable benefits to a range of business models, from moderate changes such as weight loss incentive programs to corporate gyms for lunchtime fitness.

An article in Corporate Wellness Magazine suggests that business owners who put resources toward employee wellness can actually save money in the long run because illness comes at a cost to the company. The Wellness Council of America conducted a survey concluding that 407 million days of work time per year is lost due to illness.

Absenteeism causes a loss of productivity that costs employers. For instance, the price tag for absence due to fatigue stemming from chronic physical and mental issues totals $136 billion among American workers.

These costs can be mitigated through corporate health programs. Researchers at the University of Michigan estimate that an average of $1,000 per worker per year is saved when an employee quits smoking tobacco and $1,200 is saved when they lower their cholesterol levels.

Business owners who develop an employee wellness program can mitigate some of the expenses associated with illness, but also, by creating a culture that values health, workers miss fewer days and tend to have a boosted morale. The DuPont Corporation established a wellness and fitness program and saw a 14-day reduction in health-related time off by employees. The Pacific Bell Telephone Company found a $2 million savings in the cost of employee absenteeism and a drop of $4.7 million in disability leave expenditures. The Lincoln Plating Company cut work-related injuries by 50 percent at a savings of $800,000 when it implemented an exercise program.

Employee Benefits to Corporate Wellness

If your business leadership takes the opportunity to establish programs, invest in your own wellness by taking the plunge. Depending on the type of changes they make, you may develop more camaraderie with your workmates or meet new staff members in the process.

There are several types of healthy additions or adaptations available to you, including:

  • Pre-work exercises
  • Walking meetings
  • On-site chiropractic care
  • Change in menus
  • Increased break times
  • Fitness centers
  • Wellness promotions

These types of opportunities are particularly useful if you’re returning from working remotely and you dread the prospect of sitting in front of a computer 40 hours a week. With a few workplace improvements your shift of routine won’t mean your health gets put on the back-burner.

Whether your job involves travel or you sit in front of a computer, a blog on HealthAlliance.org offers tips for a better work-life balance that may apply to you.

Self-care - Whatever you do outside of work hours will play a role when you’re on the job. Be sure to make an effort to keep up such pampering routines as meditation, baths or yoga classes.

Foster relationships - It’s easy to lose contact with classmates and former roommates once you have a 40-hour-a-week commitment. Reach out through social media to reconnect and spend time with friends outside of work.

Keep moving - Exercise is one of the foremost measures to maintain your health as you age. By hitting the gym, jogging, or another form of fitness, you counteract the drain on your health that comes from pressure, including those at your workplace.

Take your vacation time - If your workload is heavy, it’s easy to put off an annual vacation. But you may be underestimating the relief that comes from time set aside for travel or family.

Check your posture - The way you carry yourself says a lot about your state of mind -- and the reverse is true, as well. By sitting and standing taller you contribute to a healthier mindset and greater confidence.

Prep your meals - Fast food can easily become a part of a busy professional’s routine. You can change your nutritional health trajectory by planning ahead and bringing fresh food from home.

Owner or employee, you can help develop a healthier company culture. If your company is small, you don’t need to provide Peloton bikes or build a basketball court to see a positive outcome. Even making slight changes to scheduling or engaging in a wellness program can improve staff morale and may even forge some new friendships.

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