Workplace Wellness 101

Rising health care costs are a significant concern for everyone. Data shows that when poor employee health habits result in unnecessary health care costs, everyone loses. Customers pay more for goods and services, employees take home less money, and companies spend more in after tax profits to meet the growing demands of the health care system. Employee well-being has a direct tie to controlling costs. The reason is simple. Modifiable lifestyle factors account for 25% of employee health care cost burden. Modify behavior and cost savings result. Companies that have wellness programs support healthy behaviors, while also creating a desirable working environment and attracting top talent. Healthy workers are good for business. They need fewer health care services so costs are lower. They are more productive and have higher morale. Cost control Healthier employees are less costly. A strategic investment in the health of your employees will lower or at least slow increases in health care costs. Employees with more risk factors, (e.g. overweight, smokers, physically inactive), cost more to insure and use more health care services than people with fewer risk factors. Reduced workers’ compensation and disability expense Employees who make healthy changes and lower health risk factors often have a lower chance of a workplace injury or illness or a disability. In both cases, this can save the employer money, not just on insurance premiums and benefits paid out, but also the replacement cost of recruiting and training a new worker to replace one out of work for health reasons. Reduced absenteeism Healthier employees miss less work. Companies that support wellness and work to create a healthy culture have a greater percentage of employees at work every day. Because health frequently carries over into home life, employees may also miss less work caring for ill family members. The cost savings resulting from a wellness program can include reduced overtime and fewer temporary workers. Increased productivity Healthier employees are also more productive. Presenteeism (i.e., employees are physically present but ineffective) is reduced in workplaces that have wellness programs. Recent research suggests that the cost of lost productivity is double or even triple the cost of health care. Improved employee morale A company that cares about the health of employees is often seen as a better place to work. Such companies save money by retaining workers and have a competitive edge in recruiting top talent.