Did you know that it’s been almost 50 years since the first handheld cellular phone was made by Motorola? Back then, who walking around holding a two and a half pound phone could have imagined the wor...
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’ve probably been seeing heart-shaped chocolates and cards everywhere you look. But, did you know that February is also American Heart Month? Your heart is an incredible organ! It’s a muscle that constantly pumps blood through your body—beating about 100,000 times every day.
The unfortunate flipside is that nothing kills more Americans every year than heart disease and stroke. According to the CDC, “More than 868,000 Americans die of heart disease or stroke every year—that’s one-third of all deaths. These diseases take an economic toll, as well, costing our health care system $214 billion per year and causing $138 billion in lost productivity on the job.”
The good news for businesses concerned with rising healthcare costs is, most chronic diseases (including heart disease) can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and improving overall wellness. Considering the recent report by SHRM that large employers are projecting their health benefits costs to rise by 5.3% in 2021, it makes sense to have a workplace wellness program in place to help employees stay as happy and healthy as can be. In this blog post, we’ll give you tips for creating a robust wellness program that your employees will love.
Support Mental Health with an Employee Assistance Program
Each year, more than 40 million Americans experience mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse. Following the major disruptions of 2020, businesses have seen a spike in mental health issues within their employee population.
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessments, counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees that experience personal and/or work-related problems. It’s an additional tool you can have in your toolbox to keep your employees healthy in both body and mind. EAPs also help businesses address organizational components that may be contributing to a negative work environment, enabling them to resolve and prevent those types of issues from occurring.
According to the Center for Prevention and Health Services, when EAP services were provided, work loss was avoided in 39% of cases and work productivity improved in 36% of cases. Essentially, with an EAP program in place, a company’s workers’ compensation, drug, medical, and disability costs can be reduced.
Related Reading: How COVID- 19 Has Impacted Mental Health Spending
Increase the Efficacy of Your Wellness Program with Employee Education
The most effective and successful wellness programs begin with education—both for leadership and employees. Through regular communication, give your employees tips on leading a healthy lifestyle such as maintaining a balanced diet, staying active, and making healthy lifestyle choices. Consider the value of educating your employees on:
1. Nutritional Counseling
Providing nutritional counseling and fostering a culture of health as part of your corporate wellness program encourages your employees to be fit and eat nutritious foods so that they will not only perform better and call in sick less, but will be healthier people overall.
Arming your employees with the right information about nutrition and wellness means that they will be more equipped to avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses.
2. Smoking Cessation
We all know how dangerous smoking is, and how it can wreak havoc on our health. Smoking also has a dramatic effect on employer healthcare costs. According to WebMD:
Lower productivity and increased absenteeism costs employers, on average, $517 annually for each employee that smokes.
Smoking breaks cost employers $3,077 a year.
Excess healthcare expenses cost $2,056 annually for every employee that smokes.
Overall, the total estimated cost to employers for each employee who smokes was $5,816 per year.
Because smoking can dramatically increase the odds of an individual having major health issues, educating your employees about smoking cessation and helping them quit can result in dramatic savings potential to your organization’s healthcare costs.
Employers can also ask their employees to state or affirm their tobacco usage. If an employee attests to being a tobacco user, he/she can be held accountable for up to 30% of the cost for their benefits.
Help Your Employees Stay on Top of Health Concerns with On-Site Biometric Screenings
Biometric screening tests for vital information such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The results of a biometric screening can be used to inform and educate an employee on the state of his/her health. They can also help with the prevention and early detection of health issues, such as diabetes and cancer. Combining biometric screenings with wellness programs help convince employees to get screened who otherwise may not do it on their own.
When you invest in your employees’ well-being, you begin to empower them to make healthier decisions that go beyond the workplace and t becomes a lifestyle—healthy employees are happy employees. We help keep your employees engaged and focused by providing your business with helpful resources that fit your employee needs.
If you want to launch a wellness program or evaluate your existing one, let SWBC’s Employee Benefits Consulting Group give you the expert help you need.
Roxanne Leal has been with SWBC since December 2019. As a Wellness Program Manager, Roxanne specializes in developing strategic wellness programs based on high cost claims, survey data and aggregate reports. Roxanne Leal has worked in the health & wellness industry for over 7 years.