How To (Really) Help Employees Stay Healthy

Workplace Wellness

Here's a smattering of news articles to prove it.

Keeping your employees healthy is good for business.

Channel 17 news in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill talks about local companies who are not just adding fitness rooms at the office to encourage employees to stay fit and healthy.

"[F]itness centers are no longer the backbone of corporate wellness programs, said Dave Gardner, manager of corporate and community health at WakeMed.

'Employers can look at policies and how their environment is structured,' said Gardner. 'Do they provide access to food and beverages? It may be just vending machines, but what's in the vending machines?'

Companies with on-site cafeterias are leading the charge with healthier menu items. A poster in Quintiles' cafeteria touts organic items and snacks with no trans fats."

The Economic Times in India touts helping employees with their stress as a path to workplace wellness.

"As industries mature, one of the fallouts has been that employees have been bombarded with excess workload to meet the water-tight deadlines. The outcome-stress, which takes a direct toll on productivity as people tend to slack when burdened with huge portions of work. Fortunately, organisations are waking up to this reality and are manifesting their concern for their employees' health by carving out several initiatives to build a stress-free environment for them."

A New York Times article focuses on politicians who are encouraging small businesses to focus on healthcare issues just as if they were a large company and able to offer multiple health benefits.

"Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, said smaller employers need to apply the same principles to health-care as they do to any other business.
'The question should be how do we get the best value for money,' Gingrich told the standing-room-only crowd of several hundred small-business owners.
He also prescribed changing workers' attitudes and behavior by offering healthy snacks in the workplace, access to wellness programs and fitness centers, and year-end bonuses based on a health assessment. At a panel discussion on small-business health-care costs, workplace wellness programs were seen as the most effective tool to cut rising prices."
In this age of rising prices (food, gas, health care) as well as the cost of doing business, companies may be tempted to scale back benefits, but perhaps the long-term effects of health and employee wellness should matter more.

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