June is National Employee Wellness Month, designated to encourage employers to create or evaluate their wellness programs and benefits. Did you take stock of employee wellness?

In the last five years, there has been a crescendo of interest in health improvement programs to improve the health and productivity of workers while managing costs. The perception of health and wellness has changed from an unnecessary expense to a strategic business initiative.

The proof is in the pudding. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, an estimated 70 percent of employers currently offer wellness programs, and that number will increase by 8 percent in the next year.

Clearly, employers recognize that wellness programs have financial benefit: they help contain healthcare costs, increase productivity and engagement, and are valuable recruiting and retention tools – especially in industries where it’s tough to find and keep the right talent.

Is your company doing enough to promote health and wellness within the workplace?

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Here are three ways that your business can implement health and wellness in the workplace:

1. Create a comprehensive program with tools and resources:
In 2014, Johnson and Johnson launched their Health Future campaign to support their employee wellness initiatives. They deployed support programs, resources, and expertise to help employees live healthier and safer lives – at work, at home, and on the road. Johnson and Johnson set targets for three main goals which were to have 90% of employees have access to Culture of Health programs; 80% of employees complete a health risk assessment; and have 80% of assessed population considered “low” health risk. The executives at Johnson and Johnson estimate their wellness program has cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs over ten years; the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent.

2. Encourage fitness and healthy eating, and provide the infrastructure to do it:
Hertz encourages fitness and work-life balance by providing lounge areas, a fitness center and classes, biking and jogging trails on campus, and onsite child care at its new Florida headquarters. Hertz promotes healthy and sustainable eating habits too. The onsite cafeteria is one of the first 4-star certified Green Restaurants in the world, and provides healthy, organic, and local food including vegetarian and vegan options. These features and benefits fueled their recruiting efforts – Hertz needed to recruit nearly 70% of the employees at their new HQ.

3. Design your space with purpose:
When designing Paladino’s headquarters in Seattle, our team invested in features that mattered most to our people. Paladino prioritized spaces that allow collaboration, natural ventilation, and daylight to flow freely. Employees choose where they want to work within the office each day and find the space that matches their task and fits their needs for interaction and collaboration, or solitude and peace and quiet. Warm or cool, dark or bright, active, passive, private or collaborative spaces are found throughout the office and everyone has access to them. Located in the walk, bike and bus-friendly Seattle downtown, the building sits on a walk-up accessible floor and is naturally ventilated, allowing employees to eliminate their carbon footprint and improve their personal health while at work.

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Why is wellness important?

Businesses that have incorporated wellness programs have 25 percent lower sick leave, health plan, workers’ compensation, and disability insurance costs. Need more proof?

• 25 percent of workers have experienced a health issue that has affected their ability to get their work done, which results in big productivity losses for companies.
• Nearly half of companies (43 percent) estimated their average productivity loss stemming from employees’ concern over personal issues is between 11 and 30 percent
• Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee, per year, or $225.8 billion annually.
• Wellness improves productivity and reduces the cost of absenteeism, presenteeism, and medical loss. Productivity costs are 2.3 times higher than medical and pharmacy costs.

The bottom line: Business owners can increase cost savings and productivity by focusing on the well-being of their workforce. And happier employees means better business. Implementing workplace wellness will lead to increased work attendance, reduced health costs and workers’ compensation, and ultimately a better ROI than businesses without a wellness program.

If you are interested in learning how wellness can benefit your business, drop us a line. Paladino has two WELL AP certified professionals on staff who can create holistic workplace strategies to address occupant wellness for the greater good of the company.

©2016 Patty Schuchman Photography

Stephanie Mosier is marketing coordinator at Paladino and Company.

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