Help Your Employees Say Goodbye to High Blood Pressureby Charles Pareigis (May 8, 2018)
The numbers on high blood pressure (HBP) are equally well-documented and staggering:
- 33% of U.S. adults have HBP.
- More than 1,100 Americans die daily with HBP as the leading or contributing cause of death.
- 80% of people who have a stroke also have high blood pressure.
Those are just the costs from a human perspective. And the numbers from a workplace perspective aren’t any better.
- Employees with HBP cost employers $730 more per year per employee.
- Employees with HBP implications end up costing employers – conservatively – $21 million annually.
And those costs are solely for high blood pressure, to say nothing of hypertension and other cardiovascular ailments.
Bottom line: Employees with high blood pressure affect your bottom line.
So, what can you do as an employer to help employees become a little more heart healthy? Lots of things, actually:
1) Offer blood pressure screenings at work.
It’s impossible for someone to correct their behavior if they don’t know their behavior presents an issue in the first place. This can be a once-a-year event, but by giving the option, you’re empowering your employees to take the first steps towards a healthier life.
2) Provide gym membership discounts.
Some people know they need to exercise, but lack the funding to do so. Offer to match 50% of the monthly cost for local fitness centers. Even if this only convinces a handful of employees to treat their body better, it will make a lasting difference in their work performance – and contribute to improving their health.
3) Consider changing your management style.
We’re not advocating a completely “good cop” type of approach, but there are things your managers can do to make work less stressful, which, in turn, can reduce stress. One of the easiest things you can do: Define clear goals and be available to answer questions every step of the way (with an open-door policy to boot).
4) Promote social activity.
And, no, we’re not talking social media, but actual social activity! Softball leagues, kickball tournaments, and dodgeball leagues: Not only are they fun (for a lot of people), they also get the heart rate going in a good way. Plus, giving employees a chance to interact in a non-work setting is good for morale.
5) Allow dogs in the workplace.
Science indicates that employees who bring their dogs to work find their stress levels decrease throughout the day. Less stress means a healthier heart – and more productivity.
6) Offer healthy snack options.
Vending machines are often filled with tasty – but unhealthy – snacks and drinks loaded with sodium and sugar. You can promote better health by ditching the typical snack foods for those lower in sodium. Or, even better, those that don’t leave crumbs behind.
These are just some of the things you can promote with little to no upfront cost, while benefitting from potential healthcare savings plus gains in improved employee morale.
Need more ideas? We’re always glad to provide a custom plan for your workforce.
Contact us, and let’s talk next steps.