A recent Harvard Business Review study defined workplace wellness as “an organized, employer-sponsored program that is designed to support employees – and sometimes, their families – as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce How to Make Your Workplace Healthierhealth risk, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.”

Employers who offer forward-thinking wellness programs not only have healthier workforces, but they also reap the financial benefits. In the words of Jeff Klein, author of Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, “when you take care of people, it works.” He noted that, “when people feel cared about, they come alive. And that makes workers more engaged and more productive, and it becomes a virtuous – and prosperous – cycle.”

How can you make your workplace the healthiest it can be?

Improve Happiness
In a world of continually skyrocketing healthcare costs and increasingly exhausted workers, businesses are adopting wellness programs that pay closer attention not only to employees’ physical health, but also to their overall sense of well-being. And it pays off for everyone.

  • Job-related stress costs U.S. industry more than $300 billion a year in terms of absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance expenses. According to the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of Americans have cited workplace stress as a significant factor in deciding to quit a job or decline a promotion.
  • For every dollar invested in a comprehensive wellness programs, companies saved $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in costs related to absenteeism. One Nebraska manufacturing company lowered health insurance premiums to non-tobacco users as one aspect of its wellness program. During the next few years, the employer saw an 11 percent reduction in the percentage of employees who smoked – and achieved a 50 percent savings in insurance costs per worker compared to the regional average.

Increasing workplace health starts with creating a positive culture and environment. Cornell University has coined the term “presenteeism,” which is the opposite of absenteeism as it defines individuals who work beyond the time needed or possible for effective performance. Approximately 60 percent of your total cost of worker illness may be the result of this phenomenon.

Showing up at work ill or tired happens to everyone at some point, but it’s especially prominent among lower-wage employees who are less likely to accrue sick time. Their productivity plummets and while at work, they negatively affect the health, morale and performance of others. When it comes to autonomy and benefits such as time paid off, be smart – but don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Autonomy incites people to work more effectively because they feel trusted to get the job done.

A Wellness Culture
To help sustain healthy behavior, create a wellness culture. Investing in your human capital not only addresses the health of your employees, but of your business as well. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Promote physical activity. Encourage walking programs, add an on-site fitness facility or offer discounted gym memberships.
  • Serve healthy food and provide nutrition information. Do this in your cafeteria and vending machines, and provide reusable lunch bags, water coolers and bottles.
  • Make workstations ergonomic. Modify the placement of keyboards and other equipment and check the quality of lighting.

It’s like using that pedometer in your pocket … You’d be surprised how the little steps add up to big improvements. To learn more about enhancing your workforce for optimal success and productivity, read our related posts or contact the experienced recruiters at PrideStaff Modesto today.


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