1. Workplace Wellness
Many employers find healthcare solutions costly, which eventually add up to their operating cost,
despite all the consumer-driven wellness programs available. However, recent innovative healthcare solutions are found effective in putting a brake on the spiraling healthcare costs. In this tutorial, we will have a close look at the steps that employees can take to improve their health in the workplace
In experts’ opinion, 82% of the diseases are lifestyle-based and a well-designed wellness program can have a positive impact on these diseases and eventually benefit an organization in terms of reducing illness, accidents, absence and medical claims and finally an increased productivity. This tutorial is going to sensitize the readers about the health hazards of working long-hours in a stressful environment, under tight deadlines
Before proceeding with this tutorial, the readers are expected to be familiar with the concept of employee health issues and what stress factors can increase health risks in a working professional.
2. Workplace- Introduction
Employers in general find healthcare solutions costly. These costs add up to their operating cost,
despite all the consumer-driven wellness programs available. However, recent innovative healthcare solutions are found effective in putting a brake on the spiraling healthcare costs. Recent healthcare solutions to the employee area tool to address the rise of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity that affect the productivity in a big way. In experts’ opinion, 82% of the diseases are lifestyle based and a properly designed workplace health program can have a positive impact on these diseases.
Wellness programs benefit the organization in terms of reducing illness, accidents, medical claims, while curbing absenteeism because of health-related issues. Such programs eventually result in increased overall productivity. In this tutorial, we will have a close look at the steps that employees can take to improve their health in the workplace.
▪ The Cost of Unhealthy Employees
Studies suggest that health claims in any catastrophic event, such as heart attack or brain stroke, constitute only 20% of the total medical expenses, in comparison to a staggering 80% of the medical expenses drawn towards addressing chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma etc. Barely 20% of the employees are affected by what are normally perceived as lethal medical conditions prevalent in the lives of working professionals, in the contrast to nearly 70-80% who are affected by someone kind of chronic diseases as mentioned above. However, it is also seen that many of these chronic successful implementations of a well-designed wellness program. Reports reveal that Return on Investment (ROI) for companies that adopt any kind of healthcare solutions are in ratio of 5:1. It means that for every fine employee they provide healthcare for, only 1 remains fully fit at any given time of the year. This is a huge expense, even for well-estimated
3. Factor behind Chronic Diseases
A chronic disease may be defined as, “an ongoing and incurable illness or condition that includes heart diseases, asthma, cancer, and diabetes.” Experts suggest that there are three lifestyle factors that are major contributes to chronic disease at workplace. Let’s discuss the three factors in details
Obesity is one of the major causes for a host of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, injuries, etc. Apart from the medical expenses, it also results in reduced productivity due to frequent visits to a physicians’ office. A survey done by Cigna in 2013 revealed that most alarming situation in organizations is the exponential increase of obesity during 1993-2012. It also indicated that there is a whopping 3300% rise in the short-term disability due to obesity. The situation is going to worsen as the number of the obese employees are so the rise, and surveys suggest the percentage of obese people has increased from 22.9% during 1988-1994 to 34.9% in 2011-2012
In spite of the recent fall in the numbers of smokers, smoking still affect the economy of organizations, both in terms of cost and the lost work days. A study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) reveals that a smoker who consumers more than a pack of cigarettes daily is likely to affect production adversely by more than 75%, in comparison to a non-smoker. Globally, employees are paying nearly $193 billion every year towards the medical cost and lost
productions, which bring it down to an average of $5816 per annum per smoker. Estimate suggest that various medical related compensation costs towards the smoking employees is
at $2189, as opposed to $176 for non-smokers. It is because the healthcare package cost for a smoker attracts more premium than the non-smokers.
Stress is probably the number one factor that affects employers the most in today’s world. As reported by the American Institute of Stress, a staggering $300 billion annually is the toll that the employees have to bear for various reasons such as lot productivity, absenteeism, accidents, low employee turnover and medical costs etc. arising out of excess stress among employees.
The amount of studies that have been done on this topic far surpass any other health-related study. A study by the JOEM suggest that stress alone costs more than all other lifestyle diseases put together. It also found that the healthcare cost of a stressed employee is 46%, while that of a depressed employee
is almost 70% more than an employee who has not been reported under any stress in the Workplace.
▪ Impact of Chronic Diseases on Economy
Chronic diseases wreck the economy in two ways: first, there is huge expenditure that organizations have to do on the health of their working resources. Second, because due to illness, there is a sever drop in the productivity of an organizations, which results in missing deadlines and losing on crucial strategic advantages. The number themselves are staggering-
• Almost 14 million workdays are lost in a year due to diabetes alone, as each diabetic loses nearly 8 days per year.
• More than $ 160 billion of productivity lost during the year 2009 in the from of absentees and death due to cardiovascular disease in America
• A meager 10% drop in the high blood pressure condition would save America by nearly $ 450 million each year in the form of lost work days.
4. Workplace Wellness- Initiatives
Workplace health wellness is a continually evolving process and its recent structure is due to its expanded horizon to accommodate all the employees of the organization through health risk assessments and one-on-one wellness coaching.
▪ Creating a wellness program with results
Good diet, healthy exercise, and periodical checkup are three key elements of an effective workplace program. These key elements, if customized differently for each group, are often helpful in preventing and managing chronic conditions, however the real challenge is creating an awareness among the employees for the same.
Wellness program are topping all expectations of employees and employer alike. They are proving to be the most profitable program in addressing health-related non-performance issues. It reduces the expenditure on health care needs, insurance of life, and disability while also helping in decreasing the sick leaves of the employees. There are different types of wellness components. The return on investment (ROI) depends on the components added to the program. A walking program can be initiated with a little or no cost. If you need a little more expensive program, than there is the all paid membership plan to the gym which can be given to the employees.
The most expensive plans are providing onsite programs related to stress management, or well developed fitness regimens. A well-planned business strategy is what needed to encourage employee is to participate in these plans, which is the most crucial contribution to the ROI. ROI is generally evaluated over a period of 25 years by the workplace wellness programs.
5. Health Risk Assessments
HRAs help in providing a well-calculated evaluation of the fitness chart for the employees. This will help in gauging the future risk of diseases that the employees may have, and using these details, the instructions can ultimately guide them in tailoring their fitness programs accordingly. For instance, if the majority of employees in a company are suffering from obesity, then it is more logical to implement a weight loss program rather than a smoking cessation program. Many examples of notable success can be seen under HRA implementation.
• The university of Louisville marked a profit of $ 3.00 return on every $1.00 spent in 2008 through its gets healthy now wellness program.
• Bank of America marked a 10% decrease in its healthcare cost within 2-year implementation of its wellness program.
Through its questionnaires, either in print or electronic formats, the HRAs can measure outcomes with great accuracy.
6. Workplace Wellness- Programs
This loss was resulted from a series of actions such as low productivity, long absences, limited work functionally at the job, etc. to address these expenses and losses, organizations have partnered up with health wellness centers to provide lucrative programs for their employees let’s discuss them-
▪ Tobacco Cessation programs
Insurance coverage for comprehensive tobacco programs costs between $1.20 and $4.80 per member annually, the Centre for disease control (CDC) and the American legacy Foundation reported that for each member who will quit smoking, the cost to the organization is going to reduce by $1800 annually!
In addition to smoking injuring the smoker, also causes hazards for the other people around him, not to mention numerous accidental fires that careless employees have started because of snubbing their cigarette butts in the washrooms of their office.
▪ Biometric Screenings
Through biometric screenings, many aspects such as body obesity, blood pressure and other risk factors can be successfully ascertained which will help in saving lower medical and life insurance claims. Rough calculation says that this will result in an annual saving for the company to the tune of $192 minimum, which can even accumulate around to $1000 annually over a 5-year period time. However, for smooth flow of the plan, it is necessary to open onsite fitness centers round the required area. An additional step like aiding the fees of gym, or creating incentive towards healthcare will definitely create eagerness among the employees
▪ Weight loss programs
Weight loss programs is another factor that should always take the central stage in all Employee Wellness Programs. These may be diabetics, low heart functionally and upping the chance of physical disabilities. After conducting several studies, Fitness experts have concluded that overweight employees are not only going to experience more health-related difficulties, but are also going to lower the productivity of other employees. For example, if an employee is absent, his teammates might feel dejected and not operate at top levels.
It has also been depicted that a normal and healthy is 3 times less likely to be an absenteeism as compared to an overweight employee. Even if an overweight employee marks his presence, he may not be able to function to his full capacity. A typical successful weight loss program should be designed in a way to fit the busy life schedule.
▪ Personal Health Records
Personal health recording electronic form, popularly known as PHP, id helpful in maintaining and organizing all important information related to health. This information can contain a list of medications and history of pre-medical check-ups, all organized at a single place.
Employees can share this information with their practitioners. By doing so, one can reduce his time and money on repeating various procedures and can save a good amount of money.
Surveys are now coming with facts that people are ready for the change with the technology. The market foundation has come up with the following facts on people’s view on PHR-
• 70% are optimistic about the positive effect of PHR on their health profile.
• 75% are ready to exchange this information with their doctors.
• 69% will use PHR to track their medication
▪ Online and mobile health information
A careful observation on the internet level of people an accessing health information online has revealed the following information-
• 72% internet savvy users look for health information.
• Women show greater interest than men
• 35% have enquired about others health conditions online.
• 27% accessed web for options on losing excess weight.
Looking at such encouraging figures, nearly 1,00,000 new health related apps have been developed recently. These apps not only help in providing health information but also track the health-wise progress of the employees. People can even share their exercise tips, hospital information, diet plans, etc. moreover, these tools are designed to provide with trustworthy
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