Lisa Bonner | ,| By
As healthcare costs continue to escalate, employers are starting to embrace wellness trends to control costs and manage stress. In addition, wellness activities often improve employee engagement and retention, which helps companies reduce their turnover costs. Healthier, happier employees- it’s a win-win!
Work related stress is estimated to cost American companies more than $300 billion annually. Employees suffering from stress have higher absentee rates and are less productive. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reports that work related stress accounts for 40% of job turnover. On average, it costs businesses one fifth of an employee’s salary to replace that worker, and it can cost up to 200% of their annual salary.
Wellness Strategies Encourage Healthy Behaviors
Businesses are integrating wellness strategies into an overall health enhancing work experience. They offer numerous options, including health club discounts, personal training sessions, weight reduction programs, smoking cessation and meditation. Healthy habits can prevent or lower the risk of serious health conditions and help manage an existing condition. Employers are challenged to get employees actively “engaged” in their health and wellness and create a culture that supports healthy lifestyles long term. Simple changes such as offering healthy choices in the café and encouraging employees to take an hour break at lunch time can go a long way. More progressive companies are pursuing more innovative ways such as walking meetings and standing workstations. Many companies leverage their enterprise social network and mobile apps to motivate employees, track milestones and celebrate successes.
Focus on Mental Fitness
Mental fitness is increasingly being recognized as an equally important trend. Leading companies such as Google, Target and General Mills are including meditation instruction as part of stress reduction programs. Harvard Pilgrim’s “Mindfulness” program helps you into your own strength to manage stress, increase mental discipline. Benefits include training your mind to be more focused, to “see with clarity” and to have “spaciousness for creativity,” which builds resilience and spurs innovation.
Robust wellness programs can lower healthcare costs, improve productivity and increase engagement and retention. It’s no longer just a “nice thing to do,” it’s a smart business move.
What is your company doing to promote wellness? What are your goals? Any successes that you can share with us? I look forward to your comments.