I read a quote recently, “If you do not voluntarily take time to be well, you will involuntarily take time to be sick.” Read that once again. My question to you: do any of us have the time to be sick? Do any of us have team members we can afford to have away from work? How does this absenteeism affect our business? More importantly, what can we do about it?
Editor’s Note: This month’s Workplace Wellness column is the first in a two-part series contributed by Steven Wallace, MBA, and Jason Buchanan, PhD, MBA. Jason and Steve are members of the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston’s executive team, where employee satisfaction and welfare is discussed at every leadership team meeting.
Workplace wellness is broadly defined, but not limited to, programs and resources used to help busy teams achieve greater work life balance, reduce stress, increase energy, and any other health related topic. Great buzzwords – but you, the bottom-line leader, need to figure out how to keep your business running in tough economic conditions, right? Who has more time to add to their already full plate?
My short answer is, in today’s crazy pandemic, labor-challenged business environment, it should not take an MBA cum laude graduate to recognize anything and everything that can be done to make employees feel happier and more valuated should be a top priority. I strongly suggest we add “healthier” to that mix.
The United States spends in excess of $9,000 annually in health care costs per capita – and that number continues to rise. More than 133 million Americans have one or more chronic diseases, and 75% of all health care spending is driven by chronic disease care. In addition, 80% of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more than 40% of all cancers are preventable with lifestyle changes.
Regardless of the cause – and whether you know it or not - these health concerns are affecting your team every single day: absenteeism, worsening existing medical conditions, inactivity, life dissatisfaction, degrading mental health, negative health perception, obesity, and high stress, just to name a few.
So now to the big question: what can you do about it? What if I told you there was a documented, fact-based, proven way to reduce employee sick leave up to 28%? Or reduce your organization’s annual health care costs by up to 25%? Maybe reduce Worker’s Compensation and Disability claims by up to 30%? How about increasing your overall team member satisfaction and productivity by 12% or more? (Source: Employee and Executive Wellness Solutions)
You are probably saying to yourself, “I’ve heard all these statics before. But how do I get my organization there from here?”
I recommend following the advice of a very old proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The first step in your journey does not have to be expensive, nor does it take another FTE to implement in your workplace. All you need to do is type “Healthy Maine Works” into your favorite web browser, and you will find free access to the Healthy Us Scorecard at https://www.healthyusscorecard.org.
I took this simple recommendation a few months back, and the resources on this site have completely changed how I look at workplace wellness. My lens flipped from “Why should I be doing this?” to “I really need to be doing this.” The result has been nothing short of saved lives.
When employees feel good, they tend to perform better. That’s why most Chamber BlueOptions’ plans come with employee discounts on health products and services, as well as an online health and fitness program. Just contact your Anthem-appointed insurance producer for more information or visit the Chamber’s BlueOptions web page to find a producer. For more information on the Chamber BlueOptions health plan, please contact Mark Ellis by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 107, or by emailing email@example.com.