It is one thing to be a “couch” potato…Are you a “desk” potato? Chances are that if you are both, you are heading for health problems. If your well-being is a value that you live by, then you are probably aware of the negative implications of being sedentary at your desk each work day and you make sure you get up and move whenever you can. How about your employer? The research confirms that optimum physical heath translates into better mental health. Therefore, better mental health means that both you and your employer will benefit because you are more productive. A “Living Strong” Blog report noted that by investing in wellness programs and encouraging healthier lifestyles, organizations will see improvement in employee morale, decreased absenteeism, lower health plan costs, improved productivity and increased company revenues.
In one of the only longitudinal studies undertaken on this subject, the University of Michigan proved that it pays to create a culture of wellness. They tracked the impact of a Midwest Utility Company’s implementation and investment in their wellness programs over nine years. The company realized a net savings of $4.8 million in employee health and lost work time costs. This week, CBS early morning news Health Watch segment featured New Jersey- based PHH Corporation as an example of an incentive-based wellness employer offering staff $1,000 a year to make measureable improvements to their heath. Many employees wear a pedometer and simply plug it in to their computers to track their walking success! They are rewarded for the miles clocked up just by walking around their workplace! The segment noted that for every dollar a company spends on wellness, their ROI (return on their investment) can be three to six times higher!
Adapting workplace wellness programs need not be financially prohibitive. Research the numerous pages available on line that describe best practices around the world. Check out The Government of Alberta’s Healthy U webpage; as well as “Look Good Feel Great Always” blogs, great resources for you and your workplace to get healthy!