Workplaces are often associated with stress, stagnant activity, and even decline in health. At Member Medical, we believe workplaces should encourage employees to be proactive about their health, which starts with staying healthy even when you spend most of your day indoors.
Americans with full-time jobs spend on average over 8 hours working, which is almost as much time as they spend on sleep and personal care. With all of this time invested in their workplace, it’s crucial that employers consider the health of their employees and implement strategies to help employees stay healthy.
As a direct primary care practice that offers convenient, affordable, and accessible health care, we encourage people to be proactive about their health – both inside and outside of our office! To help employers foster a healthier, happier work environment, we have outlined 6 ways you can encourage better employee health.
6 Ways to Encourage Better Employee Health
- Invite a medical professional to visit your workplace – They should talk with employees about common health problems, diseases, and illnesses as well as ways to prevent these health issues. Often times, people do not have the knowledge to identify early signs of preventable or treatable diseases until the side effects are much worse. Empower your employees to be in-tune with their health.
- Encourage healthy eating – Provide your employees with ample opportunities to eat healthy, including having a fridge where they can store fresh, healthy meals. If you have the resources, keep the workplace stocked with healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and granola and plenty of water. Avoid keeping sugary drinks and candies around the office. When you cater meals, make sure there is a variety of healthy options on the menu – you can even implement a healthy food and drink catering policy across your organization.
- Allow time and space for your employees to be active throughout the day – Workday exercise can be as simple as taking the time to stretch or move around throughout the day. If space allows, designate a room or area for employees to do low-intensity exercises. Also encourage your employees to get out of the office, whether it’s a quick walk around the block or walking to lunch instead of driving. You can even invite a yoga instructor or fitness coach to come in and lead your team in exercise – even if you only do this once or twice, it lets employees know you care about their health. And entering into fun runs or charity events as a team is not only a great opportunity to get active, but also encourages team building.
- Don’t ignore mental health – An employee’s mental health significantly impacts their physical health, which ultimately impacts their work performance. To encourage better mental health, start by letting your employees know that you care about their mental health. Strive to create an environment for positive communication that doesn’t tolerate bullying, discrimination, or unprofessional behaviors. Consider administering surveys to monitor the morale of your team, and train managers to recognize signs of distress.
- Encourage employees to get out of their chairs – Research shows that sedentary behavior can negatively impact a person’s lifespan. Unfortunately, many jobs require employees to sit at desks for long periods of time. Encourage better health by getting your employees out of their seats! Installing standing desks is a great way to get employees up while still enabling them to work. Another way is to encourage standing meetings (bonus: it can help make meetings more efficient as well).
- Promote annual physical examines – Getting a yearly check-up helps employees establish a baseline for their health, which can help them and their provider notice signs of health issues early. Common, life-threatening diseases can often be identified through preventative care. Choose health benefits that include an annual exam with little to no costs for your employees and establish incentives for receiving the exam.
These 6 ways to promote employee health may be more applicable to an office setting, but eating healthy, promoting a healthy environment, and encouraging employees to take care of their health is important even if your employees spend their time working outside or doing physically demanding work. Physically demanding jobs have health risks different than those of an office place, and it’s crucial that your employees take care of their body to prevent injuries.
Of course, you can’t guarantee your employees stay healthy 100% of the time. During certain times of year employees are more likely to face health issues, such as having the flu in the winter, having allergies in the spring, or spraining an ankle hiking in the summer. Though you hope for the best for your employees’ health, it’s also important to encourage them to address health issues promptly.
At Member Medical we offer a variety of benefits that encourage your employees to take care of their health. One benefit is 24/7 virtual access to their provider, which helps them get the care they need immediately, it can even reduce Emergency Room or Urgent Care visits by up to 93%*. If employees do need to see their provider, healthcare benefits through Member Medical offer same-day or next-day appointments, meaning your employees get healthier and back to work quicker.
Interested in providing better, more affordable healthcare benefits to your employees? Schedule a consultation – we’d love to talk about how Member Medical can save you money while creating a happier, healthier workplace.
*(Sources: Healthcare Bluebook, HTA Health, Kaiser, New York Times, Merritt Hawkins, Sequence, Fractl) **(Source: Bliss, E. . Direct Primary Care: Reinventing the Patient-Doctor Relationship)