Reasons to Promote a Fit and Healthy Workforce

Mon, Oct 8, 2012


This is an awfully difficult time to run a business. While being an entrepreneur is still the best way to build residual income and save yourself from the trap of living paycheck to paycheck, the cost of doing business continues to rise while poor consumer confidence has led to less purchasing and an unwillingness to support higher quality but slightly more expensive brands. That means that businesses both large and small have had to tighten their belts and figure out how to do more with less. Chances are you’ve either had to let people go or freeze hiring, and your trusted employees simply have to figure out how to handle the increased workload. That causes stress all across the board, which in turn creates an increase in sick days taken. That is why the savvy business owner is now focusing in on promoting a fit and healthy workforce.

When people go home sick, your office loses efficiency. Deadlines are missed, and the overall pace slows down significantly. If you run a small business, there isn’t always somewhere there to step in and pick up the slack with enough training to get the job done properly. Losing someone to an extended sickness can be devastating. That certainly means it is in your best interest to help keep your staff healthy. You might not be able to hire more people, but you can stock the kitchen with healthy foods and allow people to take a day off if they feel they are on the brink of getting sick, rather than demanding they push through it. Losing one day will always be better than losing a week, or watching your whole office drop like flies.

Other smart entrepreneurs spend the extra money to get their staff quality, ergonomic desk chairs and other health-supporting office supplies. Lower back pain is a chronic issue for millions of Americans, and it is largely due to the sedentary work life most people experience. While it may seem extravagant to spend a few hundred dollars on a chair for your employee, it will keep them on the job consistently, and not distracted by pain. You can take it to the next level by making sure people have the proper desks and support systems to work with, so they don’t develop carpal tunnel syndrome or eyestrain. While each issue sounds relatively mild, when they go unchecked they can lead to extended absences that will cost your business much more than the investment in office supplies.

You’ve probably heard about the wild things Google and Apple does for their employees, such as allowing people to work on balance balls, take lengthy lunches, or even go on bike riding breaks. How does this help a business meet its monthly financial goals? That level of freedom may seem counterintuitive, but a happy, relaxed work force will get more done. Americans work longer hours than ever before, and if you expect your staff to put in that sort of time, you need to give them the breaks that allow them to be fit and healthy. Granting them time for a mid-day workout may sound impractical, but they will return to their desks with more energy and a better attitude. And that will help the entire office.

Finally, although it isn’t always pleasant to think about, keeping your workforce fit and healthy will help you minimize the company’s healthcare costs. Any business of a certain size will have to offer its employees health insurance in the President’s new plan, and those costs could be quite difficult to manage. If your employees run into significant health trouble, your group policy rates could skyrocket. So if you spend a bit extra to create personal training courses for your staff, but that effort would stave off heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other issues that arise when people don’t take care of their health, would that save you money? Sit down with your financial planner and go over the numbers. You’re sure to find that it will save you a bundle when all is said and done.

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