For companies who pay close attention to the bottom line — and really, what company doesn’t? — investing in employees’ health beyond the requisite health insurance might seem a frivolous and unnecessary expense. However, a little investment can go a long way if you know where to apply it.
The Negative Impact of Poor Health
Sick employees can disrupt the flow of group projects, and can even cause a team to miss important deadlines. When employees are out of the office, others have to pick up the slack, which means you’re not optimizing your productivity. As a company, you want your business to be like a well-oiled machine. Improving the health of your employees is the first place to start in achieving that goal.
Here are the benefits to having healthier and happier employees.
Yes, you have to invest in a program or better health insurance, but in the long run, investing in employee health pays off. Sick leave costs the U.S. economy $576 billion a year, and you can likely calculate what it costs your company. Fortunately, this is an expense you can reduce by setting up employee wellness programs or incentives to get healthy.
The data’s out there: 43% of participants in wellness programs have fewer sick days. Imagine how much more productive your staff could be if everyone were in the office every day! And a side benefit of these wellness programs is that employees tend to be more satisfied with their careers when they have options like free gym memberships, weight loss programs, or access to wellness professionals.
As you’re well aware, simply because an employee is present in the office doesn’t mean he’s present mentally and emotionally. Whether he’s trying to power through the flu or simply doesn’t want to be at work, his lack of focus can cost you money. But eliminate the health component (and count on that wellness program making him happier) and you bring back his focus on the tasks he needs to complete for work.
Reduce Healthcare Costs
The cost of health insurance for your employees isn’t going to get any cheaper in the long run. However, by reducing the number of claims you have, you can curb how much you spend on healthcare. Many companies are offering preventive services like biometric screening that can catch potentially serious medical issues before they flare up. This has proven to help employees take control of their own health, with the aid of their employers.
Building Your Wellness Program
The phrase “wellness program” is still fairly nebulous, as it varies so much from company to company. Essentially, anything you offer to your employees to help them get and stay healthy should improve overall productivity and reduce sick days.
Some health insurance companies offer a wellness allowance to companies to help them boost physical soundness. These funds can be applied to anything from health screenings to a new gym in the office.
Other companies offer free gym memberships, lunchtime yoga, or other exercise options employees can take advantage of in or around the office. Still others implement weight loss or smoking cessation programs, often with incentives for the winners.
Another option is to encourage employees to utilize workplace wellness apps like Nudge to turn being healthy into a competitive game with coworkers.
Whatever options you build into your company’s wellness program, make sure you get the buy-in of your staff. After all, a program that no one wants to participate in will cost you money without providing the rewards for both you and your staff. Make it incentive-based, and provide reasons why employees would want to participate.
The idea is this: the money you invest into your wellness program will pay dividends for years to come with your employees’ improved health and work output.