This June marks the fourth annual National Employee Wellness Month, an initiative that provides business leaders with fresh ideas and proven strategies around prevention and wellness. At the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, we know that creating healthier opportunities in the workplace is a critical component to preventing and better managing chronic disease, which is why this week we announced our sponsorship of this year’s event alongside Virgin HealthMiles, the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and WorldatWork.
Chronic diseases, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease, are the number one cause of death, disability and rising healthcare costs in the U.S, yet the vast majority of chronic disease cases could be better managed, or even prevented. Everything from what we eat, how much we exercise and how we handle stress are the day-to-day activities that often have the biggest impact on our health.
Because most of the time that we’re awake is on the job, we know a healthy workplace plays a key role in preventing and managing chronic disease for employees. But workplace wellness benefits employers as well – companies which prevent and manage chronic diseases by supporting employee wellness enjoy a healthier bottom line.
Workplaces have the opportunity, motive and capability to create a desire for improved personal health through carefully designed, supportive wellness programs, which can lower absenteeism and reduce medical costs. Additionally, people who come to work with an acute or chronic illness tend to perform at a less-than-optimal level, so helping improve their health can help employees be more productive and enhance the quality of work.
National Employee Wellness Month provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about the critical role workplaces must play in positively affecting employee health, but we should also maintain this focus year-round. We encourage everyone to learn more about this year’s initiative and understand how supportive social communities – including the workplace – can create a healthier, more productive workforce and a better bottom-line across the board.