Your Guide to a Healthier Workforce in 2019

Make 2019 the Year of the Healthier Workforce

The Center for Disease Control estimates that a typical flu season costs businesses over $10 billion in hospitalization and outpatient visits. This staggering amount doesn’t include the cost of lost sales and productivity that the flu season can bring. Even when flu season ends, sick days can continue to roll in. Have you ever tried to fight back and create a healthier workforce?

According to the National Wellness Institute, there are six dimensions of wellness. These include:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Spiritual health
  • Occupational health
  • Social health
  • Emotional health

If you focus on creating a work environment that puts health first, benefits can quickly accumulate. You’ll save money by paying for fewer sick-days, boost productivity, avoid a stressful work environment, and ideally save on insurance costs.

Overall, healthier employees mean a better work environment and bottom line. Consider implementing the following suggestions when it comes to creating a healthier workforce by focusing on the three main types of wellness.

Physical Health

On average, employees call in to work 14 times a year. While you can’t prevent every sniffle and cough, making sure your employees are leading healthy lifestyles can keep their immune systems in check. Here are a few ideas.

  • Don’t offer temptations: Skip the morning donuts and opt for a fruit bowl in the break room instead.
  • Encourage physical breaks: If your office is ideally positioned, allow employees to take a quick lap around the premises during their break. If this isn’t an option, map out a stair route for employees to utilize instead of spending their breaks zoning out on social media.
  • Offer incentives: Just one smoking employee can cost your company over $5,000 annually. Offer incentives to employees who kick bad habits or provide gift cards to employees who make it to the gym at least three times a week.

Mental Health

Even though there is less stigma attached to mental health than before, getting help is something American employees still struggle with. Boosting the mental health of employees (and management) can lead to a more productive, communicative, and safer workplace. Here are some suggestions.

  • Have an open door policy: Make sure employees know they can come to either you or their supervisor with concerns over stress or anxiety. Their concerns should be met with professionalism and confidentiality. While severe issues should be handled by professionals, a stressful client that can be temporarily passed to another employee could be enough to solve the issue.
  • Promote a healthy work/life balance: Provide employees with enough personal days and paid holidays to properly balance their lives. Continuously praising employees for working late or over the weekend instead of pursuing hobbies or spending time with family only hurts your company in the long run with employee burnout and resentment.
  • Provide resources: Whether you put up a few posters in the break room or make sure employees are reminded of any provided mental screenings or services at monthly meetings, make sure mental health isn’t a foreign topic in the workplace and that employees know where they can turn for help.

Spiritual Health

Is spiritual health important in the workplace? When employees live their lives with meaning and purpose, you’ll find they’re more productive and goal orientated at work as well. Here are a few strategies for boosting an employee’s spiritual health.

  • Provide and encourage vacation: Traveling is a great way to allow employees to connect with themselves and recharge. Providing ample vacation time can prevent employee burnout.
  • Practice mindfulness: Remembering to remain in the moment can help employees stay productive while avoiding stress. Mindfulness works best when practiced by all employees and management.
  • Embrace diversity: Many confuse spirituality with religion. While the two aren’t interchangeable, there is often a link. Embrace an environment that encourages diversity and cultural celebration so employees don’t feel the need to hide their spirituality.

Creating a healthier workforce won’t happen overnight. You can expect a bit of resistance as you introduce new processes or suggestions. Just keep your overall goal in mind and be sure to lead by example. As the benefits begin to accumulate, more employees should jump on board with improving their overall health.