The Business Benefits of Healthy Employees: Why It Pays to Invest in Wellness
As a business owner, there is so much that you sacrifice for your employees, but there are always those things that you wish you could correct. Being able to see employees grow and thrive are the bedrock of what makes business ownership such a great thing.
Whether your employees choose to adopt a healthy lifestyle is their decision to make, but this doesn’t mean that you, as a business owner, should just ignore that. In fact, employees’ poor health may be costing your company thousands of dollars each month, and if you own a rather large company, we may be talking about millions being lost!
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While there are a plethora of health conditions that are linked to genetics and without much that can be done to avoid them, there are many more that may have been avoided, or at least minimized, with good health. Employees that are in good health have reduced healthcare costs, better productivity, and are absent from work less often.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
While America is the global leader in healthcare, it doesn’t come without a cost to its patients. In fact, in 2019, the American Journal of Public Health found that medical expenses were a contributing factor in 66.5% of all bankruptcies in the United States. While it is difficult to determine which of these expenses were caused by people being healthy or unhealthy, with over 70% of Americans being overweight or obese, it’s safe to predict that the majority of those expenses causing bankruptcies are related to poor health.
By increasing physical activity and adopting healthy eating habits, chronic diseases may be prevented, thus a huge reduction in healthcare costs. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, higher levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Similarly, a review of studies published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that a healthy diet, particularly one high in fruits and vegetables, was associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Let’s be honest, none of us actually like going to the doctor. Increasing physical activity and healthy eating habits may reduce healthcare utilization, meaning fewer doctor visits! The American Journal of Health Promotion published a study indicating that employees who participated in a worksite wellness program that included physical activity and healthy eating interventions had lower healthcare costs and reduced hospital admissions compared to employees who did not participate in the program.
Being physically active and adopting healthy eating habits are important pieces for improving mental health in employees. This should matter to every business owner because improved mental health may reduce healthcare utilization for mental health conditions, such as decreased need for medication or therapy. For example, a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that employees who engaged in regular physical activity had lower levels of depression and anxiety compared to employees who did not engage in regular physical activity. And let’s not forget that a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of depression.
When employees are highly productive, you may notice an increase in your company’s value, especially when you compare earnings to times when they were not so productive. You can make a much bigger impact in motivating your employees to become more productive by inspiring them to live healthier than you can by yelling at them.
Did you know a healthy lifestyle can improve cognitive function? This can lead to increased productivity among working adults. For example, a review of studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that physical activity was associated with improved cognitive function, including better attention, memory, and processing speed. Another study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a healthy diet, particularly one with plenty of produce consumption, was associated with improved cognitive function in older adults.
Want to know how one can increase energy and alertness? Good, old-fashioned exercise and healthy eating can do this, which can also increase productivity among working adults. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published a study suggesting that employees who engaged in regular physical activity reported higher levels of energy and less fatigue compared to employees who did not. Additionally, a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates and protein, can improve energy levels and cognitive performance.
How can sleep quality be improved? Diet and exercise! Being physically activity and observing healthy eating habits can improve sleep quality for busy professionals, possibly improving work productivity. For example, according to the Journal of Sleep Research, professionals who engaged in regular physical activity had better sleep quality compared to those who did not. Additionally, consuming a diet high in fiber and low in saturated fat, was associated with better sleep quality.
When you have employees that are frequently absent, it doesn’t only make things harder on you as a business owner, but it also makes things more difficult for the other employees. Absenteeism loads up the workload for employees that do not take as many days off, and if it happens too frequently, this can quickly make the present employees to feel undervalued and looking for a new job. A healthy lifestyle observed by your employees might be a key to reducing absenteeism in your company.
Do you know how consistent exercise and healthy eating can reduce sick days? According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, employees who participated in a worksite wellness program that included physical activity and healthy eating interventions had lower rates of illness-related absenteeism compared to employees who did not participate.
A strong immune system is at the core of avoiding absenteeism at the workplace. A study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular exercise was associated with improved immune function, including increased production of immune cells and improved immune response to infections. Also, consuming a healthy diet, particularly one high in fruits and vegetables, was associated with improved immune function.
Did you know being stressed might be what’s behind absenteeism in the workplace? By increasing physical activity and healthy eating habits can reduce stress, possibly reducing absenteeism. In the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a study found that physically active employees reported lower levels of stress compared to employees who did not exercise. This also resulted in fewer sick days and improved productivity!
Being a business owner with employees isn’t easy, but showing your employees that you care about their health and well-being can make it a lot easier. By motivating your employees to adopt healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity, it can help your employees feel more energetic and happier; and happier, more energetic employees means better productivity — that’s a win-win!
Coach Julio is an expert in fitness and nutrition, having helped hundreds of busy professionals in their 30s, 40s, and 50s be healthy, as well as offering nutritionist counseling services. He works out of El Paso, Texas, but also offers remote nutritionist counseling and online personal training. Coach Julio’s expertise is backed by over eight years as a personal trainer and a Master’s degree in Nutrition.
For information about working with Coach Julio for online personal training and nutritionist services, visit www.365physique.com/bookonline