A Prescription for a Healthier Workplace

By Desda Moss May 18, 2016
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healthyworkplace.jpgOur world is inundated with health information. Yet even individuals who have all the right information and possess the best intentions can be held back by one major factor: their jobs.

While most people are limited in their ability to moderate their wellness during work hours, the best employers know that they play a huge role in employee wellness. And employee wellness plays a huge role in business success because healthier workers perform better and reduce their company’s costs.

The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line (AMACOM, 2016) by Leigh Stringer takes the latest findings from leading companies (Google, Under Armour, Johnson & Johnson, etc.) and lays out specific strategies for improving health and wellness at work.  

The book examines research on how changing behaviors during work hours can improve sleep, bolster nutrition, improve mental focus, and promote movement and exercise throughout the day. It also offers employers hundreds of examples and case studies to demonstrate how, when and where healthy changes can be made that yield positive results to the bottom line.

Some of the topics The Healthy Workplace covers include:

  • What high-performing companies and organizations are doing to improve health and wellness, and how these lessons can be applied to other workplaces.
  • Specific strategies leading companies have adopted for improving employee wellness, mindfulness and engagement, and a business case for change.
  • How our work habits and patterns have shifted over time.
  • The health problems made caused by, or made worse, by our work style, and how workplace changes can alleviate them. 
  • How a good night’s sleep, nutrition, movement, mindfulness techniques and the physical environment can help foster engagement, reduce stress and improve performance at work.
  • Benchmarked costs and benefits of health programs from leading companies and how they have made the business case internally to improve the health of their employees.

Stringer, a workplace design specialist, serves as senior workplace expert at EYP, an architecture, engineering and building firm in Washington, D.C. She also is contributing research to the Harvard School of Public Health for its new Health and Human Performance Index, and to the Center for Active Design for its initiative to create global workplace wellness guidelines.

Her book provides solutions for managers reconsidering their team policies, for HR departments seeking innovative health-related employee benefits and incentives, and for executives choosing companywide strategies that make employee health a high priority. Investing in employees’ well-being isn’t just nice to do, the author argues, it’s a smart business practice.

Analysis described in the book shows that for every dollar employers spend on wellness programs, medical costs fall by about $3.27 and employee absenteeism costs fall by about $2.37. That makes for a return on investment of 6 to 1.

What company can afford to ignore those kinds of benefits?

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