Focusing on employee wellness can reduce disability insurance claims

State-mandated DBL (New York) and TDB (New Jersey) insurance provide employees with income if they are sick or disabled for an extended period of time. Overall, this insurance coverage can increase employee job satisfaction and overall company morale.

But, even with insurance coverage sick employees still take a toll on the business. You can fight these negative effects by fostering an employee wellness culture within your organization.

Reduce Productivity Losses, Improve Profitability through Employee Wellness

Productivity losses linked to employees who miss work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year, according to CDC statistics. Of that lost money, more than half ($153 billion) is a result of sick time used by full-time workers who are overweight or obese or have chronic health issues.

Reducing excess weight, high blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels by just 1 percent are employee wellness measures that can save up to $103 annually in medical costs per person.

One way to encourage healthier lifestyles for your workers is by building an employee wellness culture within your organization, modeled by executives and carried down to every employee.

There are many ways to do so—and these small changes don’t have to cost a fortune. And certainly less than the $1,685 spent per employee when people get sick).

1. Make healthy snacks available in the break room.

We all cringe that first week back to work after the New Year. Many of us might be trying to eat healthy or even starting new diets. But others decide to bring those leftover cookies, pies, chocolates, and fruitcake to the office, where “someone will eat them.”

As a leader in your organization, you don’t have to be that “someone.” You can even provide an alternative for everyone and encourage employee wellness through healthy foods.

Stock a mini-fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, provide herbal teas for those who need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and even consider bringing in a healthy catered lunch once a week.

Or send an email to organize a mid-day potluck on a Friday, where everyone brings in their favorite healthy meal and shares the recipe.

2. “Challenge” your employees.

“Challenges” are the new fitness craze, and they work to get people moving by motivating them through the thrill of competition. Oh, and cash prizes.

Here’s how it works: Collect a small amount of money from everyone who wants to participate. Set rules, such as being active for 30 minutes each day. Employees show proof of their activity through a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or even a free downloadable app like MyFitnessPal. At the end of the challenge (typically 30 days) everyone who completed the challenge as per the rules is entered into a random drawing to win the money.

You can also divide the office into teams. The team that shows the most total minutes of physical activity over 30 days wins the challenge.

3. Plan an active office outing.

Color runs. Obstacle races. Walkathons. 5K events. There’s an activity for employees at nearly any ability level. And while the weather may not be conducive to running for anyone but the diehards right now, spring is on the way.

It’s time to catch the early-bird registration pricing for a team-building physical challenge. You can even get healthy while helping others, and engage in a race or event that donates proceeds to charity.

If you’re looking for a winter activity, consider indoor rock-climbing, laser tag, or even bowling.

4. Provide health-related perks

From free or discounted gym memberships to in-office massages, two-thirds of all U.S. workplaces today offer wellness-related benefits. But it’s not enough to provide the benefits.
You must let employees know they are available and make it easy for them to take advantage.

When you get half the office talking about last night’s boot camp, and the other half want to know where to sign up, you know you’ve created an employee wellness culture within your organization.

Mandatory DBL and TDB coverage is there when you need it. But taking small steps toward a healthier workplace can make a big difference in your organization’s overall productivity.

The DBL Center wishes all our brokers, clients, and readers a happy and healthy 2018.