11 Mar Promoting better employee health through prevention
Prevention is key when aiming to reduce the plethora of lifestyle diseases we see throughout the community. Habits such as poor diet, binge drinking and smoking, take a significant toll on our bodies and health as a whole. Having a proactive approach to health has many benefits including early diagnosis and treatment, improved quality of life, reduced symptoms of stress and illness, and improved productivity and efficiency. In this article, we share some tips on how you can empower your employees to own their health.
How does poor health affect a company?
Illness across businesses is a leading cause of absenteeism and can easily be prevented through proactive health initiatives. It is crucial for individuals to monitor and manage their health on an ongoing basis before ailments develop into illness or chronic disease.
Health checks and vaccinations are an easy way to promote a preventative approach to health, but lifestyle choices and health education also play a very important role. By promoting health literacy, individuals are able to understand why the need for an active, healthy lifestyle is essential for maintaining good health in the long term.
Lastly, an unhealthy workforce affects your business’ bottom line. Chronically sick employees become a cost due to absence, medical expenses and their loss of productivity whilst at work. Taking a strategic approach to employee health yields increased productivity, reduced costs and improved morale. A healthy workforce is also more productive, has lower absence rates, less sickness and a higher contribution to organisation success.
How to empower your employees to own their health
Providing your staff with helpful and educational health information on a variety of health and lifestyle topics can easily encourage positive behavioural change. You can do this by providing health flyers around the break rooms, sending out resources via email or talking about current health topics in team meetings.
For the best results, we recommend launching a health campaign that catches the attention of your staff, encouraging a healthy habit change. Ask us about our Corporate Health Challenges.
Once your staff are educated around some key health concerns, encourage and support sustainable change. It can be daunting for individuals to make changes to daily habits and takes a significant amount of time and consistency. Research suggests that new behaviours only become a habit after 66 days on average and can often take longer (Lally, Jaarsveld, Potts and Wardle, 2009). Support your employees by helping them take the first step to better health, and encouraging healthy habits on a day-to-day basis across the workplace.
Have a strategy
If you are looking to transform employee health across your organisation, you must have a strategy. There is no one size fits all solution to employee health, so your strategy must be tailored to your business and what will work best for your employees.
Reflect on the current physical and mental health profile of your business. Make sure that you do not just include ‘nice things to do’ that will simply be fun at the time but yield no tangible results for the long-term. Instead, try to focus on initiatives that can show long term benefits to the organisation and a return on investment. Use data and organisational goals to inform your strategy. Contact us to learn more about the SiSU Company Health Profile.
Health goes beyond the workplace
To make sustainable health changes, the change must be transferable from within the workplace to the personal lives of your employees. Encourage basic lifestyle improvement workshops such as nutrition workshops, or information on how to stop smoking.
Encouraging transferable knowledge and lifestyle changes will keep your employees educated and engaged within and outside the workplace.
Get the most out of your health initiatives by sending calendar reminders to staff prior to the health initiative or event and keep your health news front of mind. If staff have a notification in their calendar to remind them a SiSU Health Station is onsite over the course of a week, employees will be more likely to make the effort to come into the office over that period.
Believe in your mission
If you would like a healthier, more productive workplace with higher morale it is essential to be led by a team that is committed to better health. If an employee believes their employer genuinely cares about them, they will love working there and will be loyal to the business. By empowering your employees to own their health, you are creating a culture of preventative care. The more your business talks about health, the more likely it will be for your employees to embrace it. Small incremental changes in employee health will grow to be significant changes over a longer period.
To get started on a tailorable employee health program, speak to us today.
Lally P, Jaarsveld C, Potts H and Wardle J, 2009, ‘How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world’, European Journal of Social Psychology.