Encouraging your staff to get active can help prevent employee injuries and save your business money. Here's what you need to know.
Encouraging employees to be more physically active isn't just good for your workers themselves — it may be able to save your business money. Getting your staff moving and preventing employee injuries could help keep workers' compensation and health care costs in check.
Consider these five mutually beneficial reasons to get your employees moving.
Boost General Health
It's no surprise that people who are more active are generally healthier than those who aren't. For good health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week, along with at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities.
While these goals may be more approachable to some than to others, the nature of office work can pose a health risk. One study showed that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to early death, while individuals who frequently sat in stretches of less than 30 minutes had a 55 percent lower risk of death compared to people who usually sat for more than 30 minutes at a time. By encouraging your employees to take frequent breaks, you may be able to help improve their health care outcomes.
The benefits of taking breaks to stay active go beyond health. A landmark study by researchers at the University of Illinois showed that taking regular breaks actually allows people to better focus on the task at hand and leads to more creative ideas.
When you encourage your employees to get up from their desks and be active during the workday — whether it's just to walk around the building or to go for a quick yoga class — they're likely to do better work as a result.
Lower Employee Absenteeism
When employees are more active and healthy, they tend to rely on fewer sick days. That means you'll spend less time finding coverage for them or suffering from diminished productivity. Simply put, everyone can accomplish more as a healthy, present team.
Reduce Workers' Comp Injuries and Time Off
Employees who are more physically active tend to have better flexibility and faster reflexes, potentially making them less prone to serious injuries at work. When injuries do occur, active employees may be able to heal more quickly and return to work sooner.
Decrease Insurance Claims
When your staff experiences fewer injuries at work, your business can save money on workers' comp insurance claims. In addition, active, healthy employees are less likely to develop chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease and repetitive stress injuries. This may help keep your organization's health insurance claims low, saving money for the business and for all employees who pay health insurance premiums into the pool.
Whether you're interested in preventing employee injuries, boosting productivity or simply improving general employee health, it's worth making an effort to encourage your employees to be more active. Now, how do you do it? Should you start a walking group at lunchtime or invite an aerobics instructor to lead classes in your workplace? Poll your employees to find out which health and wellness resources they would enjoy taking the most advantage of.
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