In the past, the employer contribution towards the health insurance premium was the extent of the involvement a company had in its employees health. But rising healthcare costs and decline in the health of the general population are changing this outlook. Now, innovative companies such as Google are setting the trend of creating corporate environments and programs that invest in the health and well-being of their employees.
The health of your employees is an extremely valuable asset
Imagine you have a widget company. Jack is a 30 year old male and your star sales person. He has been with the company for the past 5 years and is on track to take on larger responsibilities within the company. But you looking at his numbers, you notice that his productivity has been declining over the past few months. He is making less outbound phone calls and closing fewer sales. You ask him why and he says he doesn’t know, but he just doesn’t feel as good as he used to.
Unbeknownst to you (and probably Jack as well) his health is catching up to him. He is not old by any means, but he is not 25 anymore. Maybe he is starting to develop some functional gastrointestinal issues causing brain fog and difficulty concentrating, maybe his blood sugar is starting to fluctuate due to developing insulin resistance, maybe his thyroid is not functioning optimally, maybe he is not exercising properly, or maybe he is having marital problems with his wife and is depressed.
The health of your employees directly correlates with their performance and productivity. It is not enough to simply have health insurance. Modern healthcare is only able to diagnose and treat major medical illness, wellness falls outside this scope.
“Health is not simply the absence of disease… it is a positive vitality.”
If you want your employees at peak performance, it is vital to develop your Employee Wellness Program to give them resources to achieve optimal health and wellness.
Preventing sickness and major medical illness will reduce your long-term costs
When an employee is forced to take a sick day because of an acute illness, it can throw off the rhythm of the company. Everyone gets sick, this is a fact of life, but some people are sick multiple times per year and some very infrequently. Imagine if you could “invest” in your company’s immune system, if you could do something that would reduce the average number of sick days per employee from 5 to 2. In some ways, that is exactly what you are doing when you invest some of your company’s resources into an Employee Wellness Plan. Healthy employees who eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, and practice stress reduction techniques have stronger immune systems and get sick less frequently.
Perhaps even more significant is the prevention of major medical illness. For example, imagine if one of your employees has a heart attack or is diagnosed with cancer requiring surgery and a course of chemotherapy. In addition to being very serious for the individual, the potential costs for the company may be dramatic as this employee may be eligible for extended paid medical leave, may require the company to hire additional resources to compensate, and force significant setbacks in whatever project the employee was currently working on.
Components of the Employee Wellness Plan
Employee Wellness Programs can vary widely in terms of the scope and depth of resources, but some of the components may include:
– Informational talks from local professionals (physicians, nutritionists, chiropractors, personal trainers, mental health specialists)
– Health risk assessments
– Health screenings
– Healthy potlucks and snacks for meetings and breaks
– Physical activity breaks
– Fitness classes
– Data tracking (such as use of Fitbit to monitor physical activity)
– Health-oriented competitions and incentives
– Incorporation of Direct Primary Care/Functional Medicine into the employee benefits package
PatriotDirect Family Medicine offers free informational talks concerning general health and Functional Medicine for companies looking to start or build their Employee Wellness Program. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org