What a nice, hopeful sentiment we share with each other this time of year. If you’re a small business owner, you probably have plenty of ideas about what your company must do to prosper in 2013. But have you given as much thought about how to improve you and your employees’ health?
Probably not. But when it comes to your business, prosperity and health are more closely connected than you might think. As we’ve noted in a previous post, chronic employee health problems are a serious drain on your company’s productivity, not to mention the cost of your insurance premiums.
Since it’s that time of year, why not add a “workplace wellness” item (or 2 or 3) to your list of company resolutions for 2013? Here are five ideas to stimulate your thinking.
Promote physical activity. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things anyone can do to stay healthy. It can help control weight; reduce risks for cardiovascular disease and diabetes; strengthen bones and muscles; and improve mental health and mood.
Consider paying a portion of employees’ health club memberships. How about having after-hour “play days” at a nearby park? Or giving employees pedometers for weekly walking contests? Anything to get them moving!
Have your employees complete a health risk assessment (HRA). Personal awareness is often the first and most important step towards better health. A recent poll of 329 benefit decision makers at Michigan companies found that 44% encourage their employees to take a HRA. Free HRAs are available to companies that have BlueHealthConnection as a plan benefit, and also can be purchased from various providers.
Provide healthier snacks. Replace the cookies and candy bars in your vending machines with granola bars and reduced-fat or low-calorie treats. Putting out bowls of fresh fruit would be even better.
Educate your employees about high-risk activities. Four modifiable health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for most chronic health problems, which are responsible for more than 75% of our country’s healthcare spending. You could sponsor an annual health day so employees can learn about these risks from visiting nutrition and health professionals or send them weekly email health tips. This workplace wellness toolkit has more ideas and plenty of free resources.
Take better care of yourself. Exercise. Eat well. Get plenty of rest. Take a vacation. Your health habits help establish a culture of wellness for everyone in your company.
One last thing. Our best wishes to you and your employees for a healthy and prosperous New Year!