Creating a healthy workplace is healthy for your bottom line.
Why? Because healthier employees make better decisions, are more mentally agile, and are able to get their heads down and crack on with their work better than a fidgety less-healthy version of themselves.
So how can you make one employee healthier? Well we’re not sure that targeting the health of one person is necessarily the right path to go down. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’ after all.
So how can you make your team healthier? Now there is a question for us to run with.
Create a healthy community
Creating a healthy community can be as simple as encouraging employees to go to the gym. It has even been show people are more likely to work out (run-run-pump-pump-grrrr and all that) when others hold them to account.
How can you encourage this behaviour? Well perhaps you can offer your employees a discount at their local gym.
There is even a chance they’ll work out with other colleagues who have similar goals. The effects will be especially good if the gym is close to the workplace, as some employees may choose to go during their lunch break, or before or after work – multiplying the health effect.
What’s even better is a gym discount can be a cost-free change for the company. Gyms may offer a discounted rate for a company’s employees in exchange for endorsement of the gym – it’s a bottom line (and waist line) win:win. Active.
Health Insurance Incentivisation
Companies vary in how they offer their incentives. There are many examples from the US of companies offering tiered insurance plans. This allows a company’s healthiest employees to pay the lowest premium, based on their smoking status, weight and other biomedical factors.
Some may say this is discriminatory – and let’s be honest if this is coming from the US I’m sure at least one person has made such a claim in court – but it also highly leverages up the message you are saying as the healthiest staff get paid more.
Others have adapted an even more controversial approach, penalising their unhealthy employees by adding an additional cost onto their insurance plan. For example, Wal-Mart workers who smoke pay £1,500 more per year for their health care plan, and General Electric charge their smoking employees £400 a year (wowsers!).
According to the New York Times, policies penalising employees are becoming more prevalent. In fact the number of companies doing so has doubled in the US between 2011-2013, to 20% of all companies.
Whilst a penalty-orientated health care plan may be a bit strong, tiered insurance plans put a motivational spin on keeping healthy.
Fruit at your Desk
Why not get some fruit and give it out for free in your workplace? You’d be surprised as to the benefits you can get from a simple box of fruit.
To your health:
• Eating more fruit and veg is the second most important cancer prevention strategy
• Having fruit at work means you’re more likely to eat it
• You’ll get sick less so you’ll take less time off work
To your work-life:
• Employees who look after their weight report less sickness absence than those classed as obese – so fewer email Everest mountains to scale
• Providing free fruit shows you care about the health of your employees, who in turn feel more appreciated and motivated – it’s the small things right?
• A study carried out by a health and wellbeing consultancy proved a healthy employee is up to 20% more productive than an unhealthy employee. Healthy employees therefore equal a healthy bottom line – (can we get the word ‘healthy’ into this point any more? I think so – keep your staff healthy!)
• The natural sugars in fruit allow us to think faster, and remain alert longer, which means no more afternoon energy slumps or fuzzy brains
So there are our two top tips (for now) on how to ensure you have a healthy workforce and healthier bottom line.
Which of these two strategies are you going to implement next?
Finally, what do you think of tiered healthcare plans with penalties? Do you think they’re a positive idea or a step too far? We’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know below: