December 17, 2012

Give Employees the Gift of Wellness This Holiday Season

The holiday season is traditionally a time for showing employees appreciation; office parties, small gifts, and even bonuses are common expressions of gratitude. But employers are well positioned to give their entire workforce a gift of lasting value, the gift of wellness. This gift can be as simple as incorporating fresh vegetables and low fat, low salt offerings to the office party menu or as wide-ranging as daily wellness tips or offering a gym membership as a grab bag gift.

Here are some wellness thoughts to share with your employees:

  • Did you know that there were more than 250,000 toy-related injuries requiring emergency room visits in 2010?  December is Safe Toys and Gifts month. The American Academy of Pediatrics posts advice for choosing safe toys on their website AAP.org. And with decorations playing a major role in holiday festivities, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has a downloadable pamphlet that covers everything from trees to artificial snow.
  • Duke University launched  Maintain Don’t Gain Employees ‘Maintain’ Health, Weight Over Holidays | Duke Todayfor the holiday season. Weekly emails included healthy recipes, stress management tips, and other ideas that motivated healthy behavior over the holidays.
  •  A similar program is available through Cleveland Clinic and can be accessed by anyone who signs up for the daily wellness tips. Cleveland Clinic Wellness
  • The CDC covers everything from safe travel tips to simple measures for avoiding winter colds and flu on its Holiday Health and Safety web page. Even better—you can hear some tips as a song.

Is the focus on employee wellness worth the effort? Absolutely. And not just during the holidays. Productivity losses due to health issues are an estimated $225.8 billion annually according to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention. A meta analysis by Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found a 25 percent decrease in sick leave, health plan costs and workers compensation and disability among companies with wellness programs.

At Marketing Innovators, we found dramatic results from our own employee wellness program. Virtually all participants improved their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, 67 percent improved their triglycerides, and overall physician visits declined by 25 percent over a two-year period from 2009 to 2011. The full case study can be accessed at: MI Employees Reap Wellness Program Benefits

The holidays are a time of celebration. With the gift of wellness, there is even more to celebrate.

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