Good health is a critical element of quality of life, and yet attention to physical well-being is often overlooked by stressed executives and business owners. What if you found a pill that would:
- Increase both the span and quality ofyour life
- Halve your risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer
- Alleviate mental anxiety and depression
- Increase muscle tone and heart function
- Decrease your blood pressure
- Increase your immunity
- Increase your mental clarity
- Increase your stamina
- Increase your body’s ability to metabolise cell-damaging stress hormones
- Increase overall productivity and decrease overall medical costs for you and your employees?
- How much would you be willing to invest in such a pill?
That “pill” is available it comes in the form of physical activity –and active participation on your part can radically improve your health, body and mental function.
On the flip side, physical inactivity not only results in medical hard costs but in indirect costs too (such as workers’ compensation claims), the cost of myriad chronic diseases attributable to physical inactivity (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.), or the cost of lost productivity (absenteeism – missing work due to illness or injury, and “presenteeism” – at work but less focused/productive due to illness or injury).
Who would have guessed that rising from your desk to go for a walk at lunch – and encouraging your employees to do the same – might be one of your most fiscally responsible business decisions?
That’s why well-implemented employee health and wellness programs not only save organisations money, but also improve employee morale and productivity. Here are five ways small businesses can cater to a healthier lifestyle:
- Lead by example. Step up to the plate.When it comes to supporting employee health, the most successful organisations have senior level support and role models – that means you.
- Use assessments. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Employee interest surveys and health risk assessments can help you determine what your employees want and need as well as measure their current health. For starters, try on-site health screenings that measure BMI,weight, blood chemistry and blood pressure.
- Provide training and development. Support your employees in making meaningful health-related changes. Training and development programmes help define opportunities for change, explore thepersonal and professional values that guide change and develop results-oriented plans.
- Foster a healthy work environment. No bread will bake in a cold oven. Does your organisational culture and facility support health? Do your employees have access to showers? Do you have no-smoking policies? Flexi-time? Maternity/paternity leave? Turn up the oven and watch the culture in your organisation rise.
- Create physical activity/community incentives. You may not be able to offer an on-site fitness centre, but you can create your own physical activity incentive programme. How about giving out pedometers and encouraging your staff to get at least 10 000 steps per day? Or recognising team members who swear off the elevator to use the stairs? How about starting a lunchtime running or cycling group? You’d be surprised how creative people can get, when they’re outside moving together.