I have been championing wellness and stress management for well over 20 years now. Getting corporations to acknowledge and understand the correlation between employee health and their bottom line has been an uphill battle…until now. I’m hoping a positive that has come out of our COVID-19 pandemic is an awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of employee health.
Yes, we now have company’s attention regarding wellness. They are recognizing that efforts to improve the health of employees can now be attributed to actual cost savings. When I consult with companies, I encouraged them to start with education and training in relation to physical health. With that, we must help employees understand their personal cost to an unhealthy, stressful lifestyle:
- Low energy;
- Restless nights/lack of sleep;
- Decreased productivity;
- Unhappiness/mood swings;
- Frequent sickness/illness:
- Excessive hair loss;
- Weight gain;
- Diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, emphysema, etc.
- Sexual dysfunction;
- Premature death.
Stress is known to increase our body’s Cortisol, which can lead to weight gain due to its effect on appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. As Today’s Dietician states, “Cortisol can mobilize triglycerides from storage and relocate them to visceral fat cells (those under the muscle, deep in the abdomen).” Stress is more than an unrealistic deadline or screaming boss; individuals have personal stressors affecting their quality of health and life such as a troubled marriage or difficult children. The result of excessive stress can be alcohol abuse, overeating, misuse of drugs, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
The decision to make healthy choices and cope with stress in productive ways is still the individual’s, but with knowledge comes power. If companies combine physical health programs with stress management workshops and offer professional support, they will have a winning combination. I suggest the enlistment of fitness professionals like myself who can integrate and optimize a comprehensive wellness program: educate, train, motivate, encourage, support, and teach healthy lifestyle habits to employees.
The more creative your wellness programs, the more they will reach the masses. Remember, a variety of personality styles fashion your team and will need to accommodate all styles. If you haven’t run assessments in a while, people like me can help! Our reports can give insights into what specific factors negatively influence people and offer suggestions on how to handle and recover from stress.
Don’t forget to enlist your associate’s suggestions and feed back. When wellness programs are designed in a vacuum, they tend to fall flat. One company I know recently relocated to a new building. This gave HR the opportunity to design the break room based upon employee needs. Traditional snack vending machines were replaced with those that dished out salads and healthy sandwiches. Employee cards are used to track points for healthy eating and exercise and then are used for rewards and recognition.
If you are looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to offer some immediate stress relief, yoga is an exceptional for not only stress management but also for pain relief. A good yoga class stretches and strengthens muscles, providing a balanced workout for the body and mind. Simple breathing techniques can be used at a person’s desk, on a plane traveling for business, or during a lunch break that immediately reduce blood pressure, tension, and stress.
Whether you start big or small, the money spent on employee wellness will pay huge dividends! Need help developing or optimizing your wellness program? I’d be happy to help.
Still unsure? Did you know that 70 percent of ALL illness and injuries in American can be prevented? Health insurance and worker’s compensation costs are skyrocketing, with no indication of them slowing down any time in the near future, especially in light of COVID-19. Across the nation, health care, sick leave and disability insurance are costing businesses $12.7 billion annually, according to a recent study by the American Journal of Health. These costs will continue to attack company’s bottom lines unless a different approach is taken.
In the past, companies may not have believed an employee’s personal life impacted the workplace. But today, more and more companies are realizing healthy employees equal a healthy bottom line. By incorporating wellness initiatives into the workplace, companies can protect their investments and increase their profit margin.
Because employees are truly a company’s greatest asset, ensuring they’re not only equipped with the right tools to get the job done, but that they are also healthy enough to perform it effectively only makes sense.
Your employee’s health does impact the health of your company.
As I mentioned, research indicates that 70 percent of all illness and injuries in America can be prevented. Add to this the fact that the average employee only spends three hours out of eight being productive when they are 100 percent, how, then, can companies afford not to address the “total” employee?
Your company’s health depends upon it.
Wellness is a holistic approach and looks at a person’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. I like to use the analogy of a car with four tires. If you only maintain two of the four tires, your ride will begin to get bumpier and rougher. Eventually, you’ll experience a blowout. Two out of four isn’t enough.
In order to have a smooth ride, you must have all tires in good condition and balanced. Employees are bringing to work their emotional and physical ailments, which are hindering their performance at work. Poor health equals lower energy and less productivity. What is poor health costing your company? A good wellness program starts off with education.
Although the thought is admirable, companies that purchase fitness equipment or memberships to health clubs without first educating their employees on how to actually use the equipment are throwing their money away. It’s a Band-Aid that won’t stick. As a certified personal trainer, I can tell you at least half of your employees are intimidated by workout rooms, and, therefore won’t use them. By having a fitness professional demonstrate how everything works and offering safety tips, you will dramatically increase your wellness program’s success.
Employees must first understand the consequences of poor health and learn what a healthier lifestyle will do for them personally and professionally. As they embrace these new concepts and make it a lifestyle, they soon will be ready to use tools to stay on this healthy path.
Get your employees on the healthy path today with workshops, trainings, books and other educational resources. I guarantee you will see work performance improve tomorrow! When your employees are healthy, so is your company. And when your company is healthy, we all win! Wishing you a joyous Christmas and a healthy New Year!