Support your employee’s healthy habits
A New Year’s resolution, health scare or simple desire for a fresh start can put many of your employees in the mindset to begin healthy new habits. The trick is making them stick.
According to Inc. Magazine, more than half of New Year’s resolutions are dropped by the end of January.
But that doesn’t mean hope is lost. At any time of year, healthy behaviors are more likely to become lasting habits when people:
- Have easy access to helpful choices
- Start small and maintain a variety of options
- Feel supported in their journey
As an employer, you’re in a strong position to help your employees develop healthier habits through benefit offerings and work environments that support:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- A commitment to wellness
Offer affordable health benefits
Perhaps the biggest step you can take to help your employees improve their physical health is providing easy and affordable access to health benefits, including:
- Health assessments and personalized reports
- Preventive care and screenings to stave off high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions
- Chronic disease management
- Smoking cessation programs
Encourage physical activity
Encourage movement by reminding employees to regularly take breaks. This can be as simple as standing up, stretching or walking around for a few minutes. Other ideas for promoting healthy habits in and out of the office include:
- Friendly competitions like step challenges, outdoor scavenger hunts, or community runs or walks
- On-site yoga and fitness classes
- Gym reimbursements
- Walking meetings
Promote healthy eating habits
You can also help employees stick to healthier eating by offering:
- Nutritious options in snack baskets and vending machines
- On-site meal options
- Home deliveries of ready-made food
- Education on nutrition through webcasts or guest speakers
- A compilation of favorite healthy recipes shared by employees
It’s equally important to reinforce good mental health habits. Support your employees through benefit offerings such as:
- An employee assistance program (EAP) — EAPs typically offer a variety of mental health supports, oftentimes including phone sessions with nurses or mental health professionals. It’s also a best practice to offer EAP services to employees’ dependents to increase reach and usage.
- An expanded list of in-network mental health providers — Cost is a major barrier for mental health treatment. Adding in-network psychologists and psychiatrists can increase access to and utilization of therapy and other vital resources.
- Telehealth options — This benefit allows employees to access mental health providers anytime, anywhere from their mobile device or home computer.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — CBT is a proven way to help people change behaviors and reduce stress and anxiety. It can be done online or in person, with options for self-paced learning courses and additional training.
- Mental health education — Workshops, webcasts, online courses and other educational opportunities can improve understanding and management of conditions like depression, insomnia and panic disorders.
- Mental health apps — By providing free or subsidized access to apps, you can help employees build skills in meditation, sleep quality, relaxation, resilience and more.
Commitment to wellness
In addition to benefit offerings, it’s important for company leaders to demonstrate their own commitment to physical and mental health, including:
- Talking the talk with open and honest communication about challenges they face and positive habits they are adopting
- Walking the walk by prioritizing work-life balance and participating in workplace wellness initiatives
Company leaders should also consider:
- Employee surveys — Your organization can target the biggest needs by gathering feedback. For example, if employees indicate a high level of stress, you can promote your EAP, CBT or in-network counseling.
- Leadership training — Teaching supervisors to spot signs of declining mental health in employees can lead to greater awareness and earlier treatment of health issues.
- Savings accounts — Implementing or increasing contributions to health reimbursement arrangements or health savings accounts can help employees with out-of-pocket costs. Reducing the cost barrier makes it more likely they will seek the help they need.
- Frequent communication — Sending regular reminders about available resources can help normalize usage of benefits, increase preventive care and encourage employees to seek help when they need it.
- Downtime — Taking a break from work can improve mood, concentration and overall brain functioning, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To encourage time away, ask supervisors and executives to set an example by using their paid time off and not sending emails after work hours.
The many benefits of healthy habits
Poor health comes at a high price. The World Health Organization estimates that anxiety and depression carry productivity costs of $1 trillion a year globally. And in the U.S. alone, chronic health conditions cost employers an estimated $530 billion a year, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The ability to maintain good health habits can make a material difference in your employees’ personal and professional well-being. Your organization also stands to gain from lower health care costs and higher productivity.
Talk with your insurance broker or benefits adviser about physical and mental health benefits. They can help you maximize current offerings and explore new options to support your employees in building healthier lifestyles.
Learn more about how you can support your employees. Connect with one of our team members today.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.
Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.
Written content in blog post: Copyright © 2021 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.