Encouraging Employee Health and Wellness: A Win Win

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April 09, 2019
Author: Ben Halverson
Organization: Lorman Education Service

Healthy employees are going to be less stressed, more productive, and happier.

Ok, ok…we all know the three workplace topics you should never debate are race, religion and sexual orientation with employees. Coming in a close fourth could arguably be exercise and healthy habits. While having a healthy staff is important to the individual employee, encouraging employees to do so is easier said than done.

Employees that are promoting a healthy lifestyle should feel more creative and more prepared when they come in every morning. Employees may also not feel exhausted in the afternoon and struggle to get through the workday.

A study done by researchers at UCLA, University of California, Riverside, and Washington University concluded with “Our research suggests that corporate wellness plans can boost employee satisfaction by offering a tangible benefit that empowers them to take care of their health in a way that’s integrated into their busy lives,” says Gubler. “The result is healthier and happier employees who are not only less expensive and less absent, but also more productive.”

There are also plenty of physical reasons why you are going to want your employees to be healthy. Here are some reasons why you should encourage your employees to exercise.

Less risk of depression and anxiety. Studies1 have shown that people who are physically active have a much lower risk of developing anxiety or depression compared to those who are not as active.

Better sleep. People who exercise regularly are better able to relax and night and sleep better. If you encourage your employees to exercise, they are going to wake up refreshed and ready to go in the morning, instead of feeling tired.

It doesn't matter if your employees have had a lot of trouble with insomnia. Studies have shown that people who exercise (in any way) sleep longer and have a better sleep quality.2 They don't struggle as much to get through the day because they have enough energy from getting a good night’s sleep.

Less obesity in the workplace. Obesity can really be a problem.  Adult obesity in the US continues to rise. Obesity is connected with depression and depressed employees may struggle to get through the day because they don't have enough energy or focus.

It can also cost you as an employer. Healthcare costs for obese people are significantly more than people who are a healthy weight. While the best way to combat obesity is with exercise and a healthy diet, having a program as a part of your workplace culture could really impact a difference in your workers health and performance.

Improved immunity. Medline Plus states that regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and other illnesses. It does this by flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways.

Employees who work out regularly are less likely to need to take sick days because they are less susceptible to the diseases that are passed around the office. You will also notice that your healthier employees are going to take fewer days off to visit the doctor.

Not as many chronic illnesses. Not only will your employees be less susceptible to the colds and flu that get passed around the office, but they are also less likely to struggle with chronic illnesses.

Being active keeps their hormones balanced and decreases inflammation in the body. It also helps to keep muscles strong and able to keep up with the demands of the job.

Healthy people also have less risk for heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain, including arthritis. They also have fewer cases of asthma and certain cancers, simply because they are more active.

Healthier hearts. Cardiovascular disease, otherwise known as CVD, is the leading cause of death in both men and women. It is also the most expensive disease to treat.

To combat heart disease, it is important to exercise. This helps to lower bad cholesterol levels, otherwise known as LDL while also raising good cholesterol levels, otherwise known as HDL. Besides helping with your employees' cholesterol, it also makes the heart stronger, so it works better. Exercise can also decrease blood pressure.

Great for your brain. Regular exercise increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body, including your brain. It can also stimulate the production of hormones which enhance the growth of brain cells. Because of this, regular exercise will help with brain function and memory, as well as your ability to think clearly.

For older people, exercise has been shown to reduce the changes in the brain that causes mental problems, such as Alzheimer's.

By making health and wellness a part of your workplace culture, your employees will be able to do their jobs better

Encourage health habits and exercise not only as a lifestyle but help promote it while at work. Employees are going to be happier due to the endorphins that they receive during a workout. They will be less likely to be depressed or filled with anxiety because exercise really can change a person's mood. They will also have more energy throughout the day because they are going to sleep better every night!

Your employees will be less likely to get sick, from diseases like colds that are passed throughout the office, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. They are also less likely to have chronic pain and arthritis, which can really prevent employees from doing their job. Employees who exercise regularly also are going to have a healthier heart, which is the number one cause of death!

In fact, healthier employees are less likely to take sick days and go to the doctor. Once you make wellness an important part of your workplace culture, you will be amazed at how much more gets done every day!

Soured Material:

   1.  https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17111194
   2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep

Other Resources:


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