Tag Archives: wellness

Prevent ‘Presenteeism’ by Creating a Culture of Worker Wellness

Many companies today implement wellness programs to help create a healthy culture at work. To establish an environment that promotes its workforce’s wellbeing on many levels. It’s an important goal for organizations to strive for beyond just healthcare cost containment.

Yes, poor health takes approximately $576 billion annually out of the U.S. economy, according to Integrated Benefits Institute data. With 39 percent of that being attributed to lost productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism. While absences due to illness are more easily trackable, it’s presenteeism that can have a bigger impact on a company’s bottomline.

Related: Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Employees

What is Presenteeism?

The term presenteeism is a concept that companies need to effectively manage. It’s the state of showing up for work, but not performing to full capacity.

The reasons might be due to stress, boredom, relationship issues, and also not feeling well. While survey data from a 2016 Global Corporate Challenge found that on average employees only took four sick days a year, they also reported being unproductive on the job an average of 57 days annually. That’s costing employers 11 weeks per worker of “missed” work.

Related: Five Critical Factors a Wellness Program Needs to Address

Prevent Presenteeism; Create a Culture of Wellness

That’s why an organization’s commitment to wellness at work can have a positive impact for employees and employers. Wellness initiatives aimed at boosting a staff’s health and by extension morale and job satisfaction can range in cost, giving employers the ability to budget and implement initiatives as they see fit.

Related: How to Choose a Corporate Wellness Provider

There are several initiatives that businesses can consider as outlined in the top workplace-wellness trends by the Corporate Health & Wellness Association:

  • Lifestyle Management – Provide flu shots, sleep-management programs, cholesterol screenings, and telehealth visits to help make getting and staying healthy easy.
  • Weight-loss Programs – Offer a range of solutions if possible, from gym memberships to yoga classes, and weight loss memberships to healthy snacks in the lunchroom.
  • Redesign Workspaces – Provide adjustable sit-stand desks or treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs and headsets, and Fitbit trackers to encourage movement throughout the day.
  • Smoking-cessation Programs – Ban smoking in the office and offer smoking-cessation classes to help employees kick the habit permanently.
  • Stress Management Programs – Offer guidance and instruction in activities like meditation, personal finance, elder care, and parenting.

Source:  Business West. Move Along. May 2017. PP32-35.

Learn More: Top Wellness Priorities in 2017 [Infographic]

Three Reasons for Employees to Try Telemedicine

Telehealth services remain one of the hottest new benefits being offered by employers. It provides a fast and convenient way for employees to seek non-emergency care. Virtual care offers a method of delivering healthcare services that allow employees to save time and money. Continue reading

Embracing and Promoting Social Wellbeing among Employees

Companies that understand the importance of investing in employees, as genuine resources are moving toward a more whole-person care approach to meet their diverse needs. Workplaces can no longer be viewed as silos, separate from all other aspects of employees’ lives. Keeping employees positively connected to their families, communities and coworkers provides a holistic method to delivering workplace benefits.

Taking a Wellness Program Beyond Health

Wellness programs are often used to bridge gaps in health coverage and more often than not simply equated with physical wellbeing. However, employee stress levels are reaching new highs and wellness programs need to expand and address these additional stressors in employees’ lives. Wellness programs components today, need to be comprised of physical, financial, emotional and social strategies to be effective.

The Social Component of a Wellness Program

The social component is probably the least talked about aspect of a wellness program. However, it probably shouldn’t be considering its impact. For example, an employee is responsible for an elderly parent that is ill. The employee’s time outside the workplace is consumed by caring for the elderly parent, leaving little time for any social interaction among friends or for group activities.

Additionally, employer surveys nationwide indicate that companies recognize that caregiving responsibilities negatively impact employee productivity too. So now at work, the less productive employee may not feel as connected to his or her team and/or organization. That’s a lot of stress and negativity for an employee to deal with both inside and outside the workplace.

Creating an Environment Conducive to Employee Social Wellness

So what can employers do to foster an environment that promotes social wellness?

First, recognize its importance and impact on an employee’s life.  Many more employees are going to being dealing with caregiving situations as the U.S. population older than 85 has doubled in the past two decades and as more women (who are traditional sources of caregiving) now comprise 47% of the workforce, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor 2016 statistics.

Opportunities to Improve Social Wellbeing in the Workplace

The positive impact that healthy relationships both in and outside the workplace bring to an organization need to be incorporated into corporate wellness initiatives. A recent Employee Benefit Plan Review article offered several insights for organizations to discuss to positively grow this aspect of their wellness program offerings.

  • Consider celebrating milestone markers of company anniversaries and bringing employees together for birthdays.
  • Make time for larger team and department meetings to share achievements and challenges, as well as reconnect employees to the vision, core values and mission statement of the organization.
  • Provide an employee social network, where employees can ask questions and ask for help from other employees.
  • Promote all aspects of diversity to create a culture of social acceptance and an opportunity for all opinions to be heard and valued.
  • Look to foster relationships between the organization and the community. Broaden the scope of social connectedness to outside the workplace and involve employees and their family members and everyone will benefit.

Source:  Employee Benefit Plan Review. Wellness Programs – Social Wellness. May 2017. PP5-6.