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The Key to a Successful Work Environment is Meeting Employees Where They Are

Kayla Reynolds

Today, employees are not well.

In a society where over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, over half of American adults have one or more chronic conditions, and many are on the verge of developing these preventable conditions.

Pre-chronic and chronic conditions affect employees’ presenteeism, productivity, and overall sense of well-being (and not to mention, cost employers substantially more!).

But, are employers responsible for the health of their employees?

The rise of prechronic and chronic conditions, and the impact direct impact the declining health of the population has on employers, is good reason for employers to meet their employees where they are in health.

A growing number of employers are looking to invest in the health of their employees. While there are a number of approaches to doing this, lifestyle interventions are among the most common. There is a growing body of evidence comprehensive, intensive, lifestyle interventions can do just that. Specifically, multi-component interventions addressing nutrition, physical activity, and other components of health are among the most successful. Not only do such interventions improve the health and well-being of their employees, but studies show that workplace interventions can reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and reduce costs.

Some employers are moving beyond the scope of general lifestyle initiatives and tackling larger, pressing issues in health.

It is estimated that 86 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults, has prediabetes. Some companies are targeting at risk employees directly and offering a worksite Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Studies conducted at a University Worksite in Ohio and other workplace environments have proven effective in improving the health of employees. Condition-specific interventions like the DPP in the workplace have the potential to directly decrease medical costs and lost work time, and indirectly decrease the costs of disability, loss of productivity, and premature death.

While the health needs of employees are diverse, addressing these needs will result in the same outcomes: Healthier and happier employees, and an improved work environment.