Last week, in talking about the ROI of Evaero’s wellness program, I promised to offer some suggestions for implementation that aren’t expensive.
Here are three:
Get buy-in at the top
I’m a big proponent of the Me/We philosophy. That is, for me to succeed, so too must those who work for me. While there are many ways you can incorporate this philosophy in running a business, one of the ways is to sponsor programs that can help to reduce the wellness divide that exists in the USA.
To convince you that such a divide exists, consider this recent study by the Brookings Institution that found for men born in 1950, there was a 14 year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent, a difference that is in fact more than double what it was for men born in the 1920s.
At this time, it’s not clear what is driving the widening difference in mortality rates. Jessica Ho and Andrew Fenelon suggest that smoking is playing a big role (learn about their research in the sociology journal Contexts). That is, the wealthy and better educated have quit smoking at greater rates than the poor and less educated, and are therefore living longer.
The problem of course is that while lofty goals such as “reducing the wellness divide” may provide the inspiration for starting a wellness program, when financial conditions change and money becomes tight, they aren’t likely to keep it running. It’s for this reason that getting leadership buy-in and commitment is so important to the success of a wellness program. Indeed, by getting that buy-in you’ll be assuring that no matter how far back the program is cut due to financial conditions, it won’t be forgotten.
Get rid of soda and snack machines and offer alternatives
Soda and snack machines are typically filled to brim with unhealthy products and as supported by this NIH study clearly impact dietary intakes. The problem is that, as shown in this University of Illinois study, removing them isn’t enough to reduce the consumption of unhealthy food products. For this reason, if you’re going to take the step of removing bad food offerings consider replacing them with healthier alternatives.
What do we do? Every week, our Emily heads to Costco and a grocery store to pick up fresh fruit and less sugar laden snack choices such as nuts, cheese, carrot packs, etc. We give the fresh fruit and small cans of V8 away and use the money from the other snacks to subsidize their purchase.
Learn to be more flexible about work schedules
I am an early-to-rise planner type person and have always gone to great lengths to be on time. There is no doubt there are clear benefits to rigid work schedules, particularly in our industry, with high cost assets in service. Production schedules and in turn, customer commitments depend on operations starting and finishing on time.
This is a complex issue that deserves it’s own article. For now, let me say that largely as a result of being a part-time single parent, my thoughts on this issue have definitely evolved and informed not only how I view time and attendance and remote working, but also the importance of trying to secure a place for employees to exercise on-site.
I’ll touch on each of these subjects in more detail in future posts. For now though, how about a little music?
The weather has been great and I’m hoping to take a motorcycle road trip soon. Perhaps a trip up north to the White Mountains? Or, maybe I’ll venture down south until I get to the Sea of Cortez. Not sure. Either way, it’s time to start putting together some music for the trip and I’m thinking Citizen Cope’s song “Son’s Gonna Rise” is going to be the first song on the playlist.
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