The workplace is unique in its ability to encourage individual and community change. The increasing number of people seeking help for chronic diseases (like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity) and the rising costs of health care make employers vital players in the decisions that affect the health of their communities and the health care delivery system. Those who are working more than 35 hours a week spend much of their waking hours in the workplace. Workplaces can use this opportunity to provide and promote healthy work environments. By offering programs, improving physical surroundings and implementing health-minded policies, a workplace can improve the health of their employees and lower costs such as insurance premiums, worker compensation claims and indirect costs like absenteeismi.
Worksite Wellness Programs
What is Worksite Wellness? The CDC says that “Workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of strategies which include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community designed to meet the health and safety needs of all employees”.i Even taking simple steps to provide healthier food and beverage options for your employees can pay huge dividends in workplace performance. With many low- and no-cost options available, implementing a Worksite Wellness policy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to produce results. Examples of workplace health programs include a variety of strategies:
- Offering health insurance coverage that provides low or no cost preventive screenings and/or visits
- Adopting a policy that ensures that the food and beverages served at internal and external meetings are at least 50% healthy (i.e., salad, vegetables, low sodium deli meats, fruit, non-sugar sweetened beverages)
- Providing discounts to local fitness center
- Promoting safe walking paths near worksite
- Sending weekly health newsletters such as Rutgers University Get Moving Get Healthy
Click here for a list of 70 Ways to Make Your Business Healthier. To have healthy, productive employees, a Worksite Wellness plan can help to make your workers healthy 24 hours a day. Your employees might be governed by a time clock, their health isn’t. See more resources on Worksite Wellness.
iCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health, 2014