Most employees spend (at least) 20 to 40 hours per week at work, which is why the workplace can be a wonderful place to begin one’s health journey. In healthcare, we are seeing a renewed focus on prevention and wellness.
Employers are recognizing the benefits of focusing on employee health outcomes by improving workplace culture. By investing in their employees’ health and well-being, companies are showing they care about their biggest resources—their workers. When their workforce is healthier, companies see an increase in productivity, less time off for illness, and lower health care costs, which is to everyone’s benefit.
Incorporating wellness in the workplace
Pardee works with businesses of all sizes to establish workplace wellness programs for their employees. Each program is unique and customized based on a company’s needs. Here are just some ways businesses are making strides toward wellness in the workplace:
Biometric health screenings: These screenings help employers gather valuable data about overall employee health. Checking cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, and other barometers of wellness helps employers know how to engage in workplace health promotion. All information stays completely confidential for each individual employee, but the screenings give leaders a clear picture of the health needs of their staff.
For example, if a company sees that 75% of their employees have high cholesterol, they may incorporate nutrition counseling and health education into their wellness plans. If, on the other hand, they determine high stress is an issue, they may bring in mental health experts to help their employees manage stress in the workplace. If blood pressure is a concern, they may ask us to send a nurse to do blood pressure checks twice a month and encourage employees to schedule an appointment with their primary care provider.
Nutrition and health coaching: Many people know what they need to do to be healthy, but have a hard time making progress. One-on-one coaching in the workplace can help people set and reach attainable goals in physical activity and healthy eating.
Lunch-and-learn events and health fairs: Led by physicians and other health care providers, these events cover a range of topics from stress management to nutrition and fitness to diabetes management. Pardee collaborates with community resources like the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office to offer employers ways of understanding and preventing opioid abuse in the workplace.
Wellness and fitness programs: Firsthand, we have witnessed tremendous success with company walking and overall wellness programs. These programs are fun, inspire some friendly competition, and provide employees the incentive to get active. Through these workplace programs, we’ve seen employees significantly increase their cardiovascular fitness, lose weight, and reduce or eliminate their need for certain medications.
Occupational health services: Since most companies don’t have a full-time nurse or provider onsite, many seek external occupational health services. This includes pre-employment physicals, drug and alcohol screenings, worker’s compensation medical evaluations, flu shots, on-the-job injury care, and more. Work-related injuries are a concern for most employers, so these services ensure employees get the right treatment and are safely able to return to their jobs.
A Ripple Effect in the Community
Employers have told us wellness programs have changed the workplace culture of their organizations. Not only do these investments benefit employees and businesses, they impact communities as employees share their wellness knowledge with family and friends. This has the potential to produce a ripple effect, improving the overall wellness and health of our communities.
Maureen Scullin, CCWS, CCNP
and Certified Corporate Nutrition Professional®