HEALTH CARE COSTS – A BIG DEAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS
No news there. And you also know that 50% of those healthcare costs are a result of poor lifestyle behaviors of your employees, not genetics or bad luck. Your team has talked about ways to control the costs but you've decided that you can’t really do anything about it. Or you assessed that the investment will be too significant, it will cost alot and the savings may not ever materialize.
WORK CULTURE – EXPECT EMPLOYEES TO BE HEALTHY
Leadership can make it clear that the company expects people to take care of themselves, to make an effort to be healthy. For business reasons – healthy employees are more productive and less expensive. Leadership will need to model the healthy behavior, but it is amazing how the organization pays attention to the leaders. If they do small things in visible ways, the organization will begin to “get it”. And some people will actually emulate and mirror that behavior. It takes a little planning, but not that much. No need to spend a fortune. Set a tone.
ONE AREA TO FOCUS – PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, EXERCISE.
This is one lifestyle behavior that doesn’t require significant investment of money or time but that can make a big difference in an individual’s health. Show them how to make exercise fit into their busy day through small, everyday activities that would include education, exercise workshops, activity breaks. Once a week one of the company’s top leaders can participate. It would create a buzz. No special equipment or no gym is required – see www.beproactive.com for ideas on how to affordably provide an on-site coach to make this happen.
HELP EMPLOYEES UNDERSTAND HOW TO ELIMINATE EXCUSES
The old perception that you have to exercise for 1 to 2 hours a day is not accurate. Research shows that good, solid exercise routine doesn't have to last for more than 20 minutes to be effective. And the 20 minutes can be done in small 5 or 10 minute invervals. Ask employees if they can't find 20 minutes exercise, then how do they manage to find 1-2 hours (or more a day ) to watch TV? That’s the average American TV time daily.
SHARE WITH EMPLOYEES - TOP EXCUSES FOR NOT EXERCISING
Excuse 1: I don't have time.
Solution: It’s only 20 minutes, not hours. It's not necessary to carve out 20 straight minutes for exercise. Fit in 5 or 10 minutes of activity a few times a day. Take a short, brisk walk around the block at lunch. Climb a few flights of stairs between meetings. Intentionally park the car further from the door at work, the grocery store, the hardware store, carry out your own groceries and take the stairs instead of the elevator add up. It can be part of your day - not something extra that someone needs to do.
Excuse 2: I don't like gyms.
Solution: If you find health clubs too crowded or intimidating, don't go. There are plenty of other places to exercise. Try taking a walk over lunch at work, do light exercise at home, go to a community recreation center. A gym is absolutely not necessary.
Excuse 3: "I can't afford to pay for a gym membership or for home equipment.
Solution: See solution to excuse #2. The fact is, you can get in shape, lose weight, improve health, improve energy without ever setting foot in a gym. Walking and or jogging around your neighborhood or in the local park don't cost a dime and will give you all of the benefits of a cardio workout at the gym. Doing light exercises such as leg lifts, stretching, lunges and pushups at home cost nothing.
Excuse 4: There’s no gym that is convenient.
Solution: See the answer for excuse #2 and 3. I have nothing else to say.
Excuse 5: I'm too out of shape,
Solution: That’s definitely not an excuse. In fact, it’s the very reason to begin. Just get started, do something - 5 minutes of walking or stretching. Climb the stairs for 3 minutes. Start slowly. Try short walks a couple times a week at first, and then build up to more challenging activities.
Excuse 6: I'm too tired.
Solution: That's precisely why you should. Exercise helps boost your energy. Move around for a few minutes and your energy will increase.
Excuse 7: I've never exercised and it's too late to start.
Solution: It's never too late to start. Provided your doctor gives the OK, you can exercise well into old age -- and still accrue many health benefits. So get out there and get moving, just start slowly.
EXPERT ADVICE.FROM PROACTIVE PARTNERS
Go to www.beproactive.com. As the HR leader, you can get ideas and tap their expertise on how to get a wellness program moving. And remember…there are 1440 minutes in every day. Get employees to find a way to devote 20 of them for physical activity. Your healthcare bills will benefit.