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Healthy Workplaces

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It’s been well-documented that promoting a culture of health and wellness can be good for employees, but it is also extremely beneficial for employers too. By creating a positive, safe and healthy workplace, experts suggest that employers can positively impact their businesses — and why not?

By encouraging and promoting health and wellness, employers can improve productivity, business performance, staff morale and employee engagement. It can also help reduce accidents and work-related ill health, sick pay costs, insurance costs and the pressure on employees who are covering for those who are absent.

For instance, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “A clear link exists between managing health care and absenteeism and keeping productivity high. If employees are not at work — or are at work but not feeling their best — productivity suffers.”

A study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that, “Employees who participated in a wellness program and successfully improved their health care or lifestyle showed significant improvements in lost work time. These employees saved an average of $353 per person per year. This reflects about 10.3 hours in additional productive time annually, compared with similar, but non- participating employees.”

Keeping employees healthy adds up — not only in dollars and cents, but in time. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, on average, it takes 121 minutes each time a person seeks medical seeks medical care. This time includes an estimated 37 minutes of travel time, as well as 87 minutes at the doctor’s office or clinic. In comparison, having a pro-active direct primary care onsite Health & Wellness clinic allows for almost no time for travel (walk to the onsite clinic), almost no time in a waiting area (if at all, the average of 4 minutes), and about 30 minutes with a physician.

Attention to employee wellness has a significant impact on retention on recruiting, too. A survey by New York-based executive research firm Future Workplace found that of the 1,601 North American employees, 67 percent of employees said they are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment.

More than two-thirds of employees said a work environment that supports and enhances their health and well-being would encourage them to accept a job offer or to stay at their current job.

In this edition of the Business Magazine, we’ll explore the topic of health and wellness and the best options for taking care of your workplace and workforce. We’ll hear from UPMC Hamot on its corporate health initiative that provides employers with a comprehensive, accessible and effective resource that can empower their employees — from top executives to front- line workers — to help them lead healthier lives, which in turn can lead to improved performance in the workplace and reduce health care-costs.

In addition, we’ll talk with Matt Cuomo of Vision Benefits of America (VBA) about the benefits of vision care for employers and their employees, as well as the bottom line. Plus, don’t miss our must-read articles by our own HR and government affairs experts about how to deal with stress in the workplace and the reasons that employers must stay vigilant on the legislative front in the fight against rising health-care costs.

As always, the MBA is here to deliver services that lower the cost of doing business, ease the burden of compliance and increase productivity for its members. For more information on how we can assist your organization, visit www.mbausa.org!