The workplace is a key part of improving the health of our community. Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it an important place to promote healthy habits. Workplace culture and environment can influence individual behavior and can help employees up a healthier lifestyle.
The data on the impact of workplace wellness programs is growing:
- On average, employers save between $1.50 and $3 in medical costs and lost productivity for each spent in workplace wellness, even after only three to five years of running a program.
- The Washoe County School District saved over $4.6 million in three years because their workplace wellness program kept employees healthier and they missed less work.
- Workplaces with physical activity programs reduce their healthcare costs by 20% to 55%, lower their short-term sick leave usage by 6% to 32%, and increase their productivity by 2% to 52%.
- Employees who exercise only one time per week have 33% to 50% lower health care costs.
Workplace wellness programs are one of the best ways to reduce costs and improve employee health. They can range from basic programs containing one or two wellness elements to broad programs that include all five of the components recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Removing tobacco use and exposure in the workplace is the single most impactful step an employer can take to improve employee health and productivity. The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act banned smoking in all indoor places of employment, with few exceptions. However, there is still more employers can do.
Being active is important for all of us, and it doesn't require a personal trainer or a costly gym membership. Employers can support their employees being physically active both on and off work time at very little cost. Physical activity, combined with healthy eating, can help employees maintain a healthy weight, and can also help prevent chronic disease.
Very few of us eat as well as we could. There are some simple, cost-free steps employers can take to improve nutrition for their employees. Healthy eating, combined with physical activity, can help employees maintain a healthy weight, and can also help prevent chronic disease.