These ladies understand the importance of incorporating physical activity into their day. They carpool to the noon class on their lunch break everyday!

Show This To Your Boss!
Written by Libby Landry

After our last blog post – What Are You Doing from 9-5? – we had someone ask, “How do I get my company on board with corporate wellness?” Great question. In this post, we’ll look at some of the reasons why corporate wellness is so important. Let’s take a step back though and define our terms. What is corporate wellness? We define it as “any effort from a company to positively impact the health and well-being of their employees.” This concept originated as a smoking cessation program back in the 1920s; fast forward to today and employee wellness efforts include everything from physical health, nutrition, mental health to financial wellness. This broader definition aims to reach a greater number of employees all at different stages in their health and wellness journey, taking into account the multi-faceted nature of personal well-being.

Why should you care? Why should your boss care?
While these questions seem rhetorical to me, the state of our nation’s health begs to differ. As discussed in our last post, the average working individual spends majority of their waking hours at work. The problem is that half of Americans are now living with a chronic disease, many of which are modifiable through diet, exercise and stress management. Further, some of the root causes of these diseases may originate in the workplace as many workers are largely sedentary, overworked and undersleeping, and have poor dietary habits.

I think we can all agree that a happy, healthy and satisfied employee is going to outperform the unhappy and unhealthy employee next to them. However, the latter situation is all too common and the effects of poor employee health are costing US companies $225 billion per year. There’s myriad problems associated with poor worker health but the big ones are absenteeism (sick days), presenteeism (showing up to work while sick), healthcare utilization ($$$), and employee stress and burnout. The result is employees who aren’t able to perform to their abilities, are sick/tired/overworked, and developing chronic conditions. Not ideal, right?

Physical Activity – the MOST Significant Aspect in Corporate Wellness?
While employee well-being is a multi-faceted matter, we’ll take a deeper look at one aspect of health that can make a significant impact: physical activity (PA). Regular PA not only decreases our risk for developing chronic diseases, it also has a tremendous effect on our mood, sleep, thinking, learning, energy levels, and judgement. (Side note: does anyone else get grumpy when they don’t workout for a few days? Yeah, it’s a thing.) From the employer standpoint, getting employees more physically active can create a healthier workforce, increase employee productivity, and decrease both absenteeism and presenteeism. Employees who are regularly physically active miss on average 4.1 fewer days of work per year and have lower annual health care expenditures. This is huge news for your boss!

How to Incorporate Physical Activity on the Daily Schedule
The options for incorporating more movement into the day are endless and are only limited by creativity. Our favorite ways for employers to support PA at work include scheduling walking meetings, provide racks to encourage employees to bike to work, host a “step” challenge, or offer a reimbursement for a gym membership. As an individual, park your car farther away from the front door, go to the bathroom on a different floor, take the long route to the printer, and walk around the office while you take a phone call.

Physical activity is a key component of worker health, and worker health is a key contributor to productivity and performance. If you want more information or have any questions, feel free to email Libby at at any time!

The month of June is National Employee Well-Being month and Invictus Fitness is proud to support the workplace’s role in creating happier and healthier employees.

Institute for Health and Productivity, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness That Works.; 2015.

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