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Making Space for Workplace Health

We’re told constantly that exercise will cure many ills. We’re told that lifestyle changes including exercise will ensure good health and a future free from disease. What they don’t tell us is when in the world can we find the time to work out? Some people work shifts, while others do the 9 to 5 gig. Luckily, many employers are now implementing workplace health programs including establishing gyms with strength training and aerobic equipment. Some employers buy memberships in nearby gyms and allow employees time to visit them to keep healthy. What are the benefits to employers and employees of health maintenance programs in the workplace?

The State of the Union

If you’ll pardon the pun, it’s no secret that disease and obesity control lives instead of the other way around. Americans are beginning to take back control over their health and lives by developing a healthy lifestyle. The Affordable Care Act or ACA, commonly called Obamacare, has provided the means for that healthy union for both employer and employee. Information on studies are a bit sketchy, but a study from 2012 found that upwards of 60 percent of respondents to the study replied that their health programs were popular and well received. Programs most attended were the physical activity, weight management and smoking cessation.

The Fly in the Soup

What seems to be holding most employers and employees back is one of the focus points in a Department of Labor study from 2013. Apparently, unless incentives in the form of discounts were promised, employees overlooked health and wellness programs at work. The Rand Corporation study found that pressures of work scheduling and a busy workplace kept most employees from participating in wellness programs. Employers had a hard time tracking involvement due to employee chagrin at long wait times in addition to the fact that health assessments were not offered.

Findings from the study were that those who actually did participate used prescribed drugs less, visited doctors less and depended on the health system at large less. Employers paid less in fees, enjoyed healthy bright employees as well as a vastly improved bottom line.

Benefits

Obviously, weight control added to smoking cessation in wellness programs are benefits to both employer and employee. The mind is more alert, the body more agile and the attitude brighter. More work is accomplished in a shorter time in addition to customers returning to see more bright smiles and friendly attitudes.

When your bottom line isn’t taken up with health insurance questions, you can focus more on how to keep it that way. More employers found that keeping their employees healthy and happy through wellness programs meant that (a) both employees and employer kept more money in  their pockets, (b) employees kept up the healthy behaviors and (c) both employer and employee found a more aware and caring relationship between them. Benefits packages including health and wellness programs are vastly popular in obtaining and retaining qualified personnel.

What about My Workplace?

We are aware that some office spaces, retail environments and a few workplaces such as auto garages, for example, present a challenge. Implementing health and wellness programs means establishing boundaries inside which employees can work out in some privacy. Most workplace areas include strength training and aerobics space. A small area in which free weights, dead weights, perhaps an elliptical or a treadmill will fit the strength training needs of employees. An adjacent small carpeted area for aerobics with a TV and DVD  player to which employees could follow along would fill the bill for physical activity.

The workplace has changed from yesterday’s quiet cubicles to today’s free-form, anything-goes idea-inspiring environment. We’ll sit down with you, figure out what you need, what you have to work with and how to make it work for you. Just contact us and we’ll get started.