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Business owners can reap significant financial rewards by fostering a culture of health among employees at their workplaces. A recent study of PPG Industries, a large Pennsylvania-based company founded in 1883, was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study showed that employee health costs were reduced after the company implemented a program designed to inspire employees to become actively involved in improving their health. The company adopted new policies and created an environment that was tailored to encouraging employees’ positive health behaviors. Particular emphasis was placed on prevention and modification of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Even if your business is a fraction of the size of PPG Industries, you might consider echoing their effort to create a culture of health among your employees. Who knows, you could save more than money; you may even save (or at least enhance) a few lives!
Creating a Culture of Health at Work: 5 Tips
There are countless ways to promote a healthy lifestyle in the workplace, from establishing company soccer or softball teams to stocking the snack machine with nutritious, low-calorie options. Use your imagination and brainstorm with your employees for ideas and suggestions. In the meantime, here are some tips to get you started:
Educate– Recruit speakers (nutritionists, personal trainers, yoga instructors) to give lunchtime seminars at your workplace once a month. Give your employees ample opportunities to learn more about different ways to promote good health from these experts.
Make Exercise Easy – Create an environment in which exercise is not only encouraged, but easy to achieve. Encourage everybody to use the stairs by ensuring stairways are safe, sturdy, and well-lit. Create a bike parking are for commuters. Establish a lunch-hour walking group. Set up a shower facility for those who like to work out on their lunch breaks.
Offer Incentives – When employees pass certain biometric markers – like having a healthy body mass index, blood pressure, or blood sugar reading-reward them by paying an increased percentage of their health insurance premiums, or by giving them gym memberships, yoga or meditation classes, gift cards to a local juice bar, or other health-enhancing gifts.
Prevent – Have on-site vaccinations during flu season. Make it convenient for employees to get vaccinated against a flu that could potentially result in several sick days and decreased productivity. If you can’t bring vaccinations to the workplace, consider reimbursing your employees for their vaccination costs.
Make Mental Health a Priority – Don’t forget that mental health and physical health are profoundly intertwined. Allow frequent work breaks so employees can get sufficient mental rest throughout the day. Create serene spaces at the workplace that foster moments of quietness, relaxation, and meditation. Host a mindfulness workshop with a meditation teacher so employees can learn basic mindfulness techniques that aid in stress management, promote better sleep, and increase creativity.
For more information on how to reduce your employee health costs, call or contact Consolidated today.