Without a doubt one of the most frustrating aspects of winter is sickness. Between the flu, the common cold, stomach bugs and everything else doing the rounds, employees are more than likely to miss quite a few days of work. This can be both frustrating and debilitating from a business standpoint with the Harvard Business Review reporting that sick workers cost American businesses in excess of $225.8 billion per year in lost productivity. On the other hand, healthy and happy employees boost the economy through an increase in productivity.
Most large organizations realize that health is an issue, forcing them to improve their health care efforts, thus making their employees feel safer and more appreciated. The problem with this is that the CDC estimates that $3 of every $4 an employer spends on health costs is allocated to the treatment of chronic conditions like asthma and high blood pressure. While not always the case, many of these conditions could have been avoided altogether with preventative care. It has also been found that employees with desk-bound jobs are far more likely to fall ill than those with less-sedentary positions. It is possible to have healthy and content desk job workers by simply implementing a few very simple strategies.
Support regular fitness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that regular exercise helps control weight, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, while strengthening bones and muscles and improving mental health. While you might not be able to force employees to be physically active you can encourage and support them. If you have some extra space on the premises consider opening an onsite fitness center or alternatively give employees discounts on local gym memberships.
Offer healthy eating options
One of the major components of healthy living is sensible eating. If our employees are using their lunch break to grab junk food from the nearest fast-food chain you can be rest-assured that they will experience illness during the course of the year. Encourage healthy eating habits by stocking up on healthy treats such as fruit, nuts, granola bars and bottled water or fruit teas for the company kitchen. The more you make healthy eating a viable option, the less likely it is that your employees will engage in poor eating habits that can compromise their immune systems.
Make health fun
Some people need a little more encouragement than others when it comes to engaging in a healthy lifestyle. A good way to make living healthily more appealing to your employees is to turn it into a game. The majority of people thrive on competition and respond very well to tangible rewards. You might reward individuals who make an effort to exercise or eat healthily and come up with challenges and games that the whole office can partake in. The results may surprise you and you won’t have sleepless nights worrying about staff absenteeism.
Employee health is a very big issue in today’s business world. While there may be costs involved with initializing preventative healthcare measures they will be significantly less than the cost of lost productivity. Take care of your employees and they will, in turn, take care of you.