Well­ness in the work­place can be good for both waist­lines and bot­tom lines

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News - By Dr. Steven Hei­dinger, Moose Jaw Chi­ro­prac­tor

Years ago, be­fore I was a chi­ro­prac­tor, I worked qual­ity con­trol in a min­eral fac­tory. The fac­tory en­trance was near a cof­fee shop, and it was more of­ten than not that the boss would bring us em­ploy­ees a dozen donuts. Now I was never a smoker, but the cof­fee and donuts at break time be­came my ad­dic­tion. I think those were the years that I was at my heav­i­est in weight and also my least ac­tive. I didn’t re­ally know any bet­ter, as I was a young and dumb 20-some­thing.

Some­times, es­pe­cially when we are young, we need oth­ers to look out for us. Back in the 1980’s, my place of work did not nec­es­sar­ily watch out for my best in­ter­ests. Donuts and a smoke break were the only ben­e­fits we seemed to have.

To­day, I would sus­pect boxes of donuts to be not as vis­i­ble in the work­place, and with smok­ers be­ing ban­ished to the frigid des­ig­nated smok­ing area 2 miles from the en­trance to any build­ing, there seems to be a trend to­wards car­ing about the gen­eral well-be­ing of the worker, with Work­place Well­ness Pro­grams (WWPs) be­com­ing more and more pop­u­lar. By 2015, it was es­ti­mated that 80 per­cent of busi­nesses in the United States, with over 1,000 em­ploy­ees, of­fered some type of well­ness en­hanc­ing pro­gram, or other health in­cen­tive, to their work­ers. Some the of com­mon pro­grams in­clude gym mem­ber­ships (or even hav­ing a gym on-site for em­ploy­ees), weight-loss chal­lenges and yoga classes. In many cases, donuts and muffins have been re­placed by fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles as well as other healthy snacks. Some busi­nesses have gone so far as to of­fer help for em­ploy­ees who suf­fer from ad­dic­tion, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. While these pro­grams can prove costly to the em­ployer, the ben­e­fits reaped can far out­weigh those in­puts. Re­search has shown that busi­nesses who show high us­age of these well­ness pro­grams have higher per­for­mance rat­ings, higher job sat­is­fac­tion, higher in­ten­tion to stay, and lower turnover. All of these out­comes are shown to en­hance a busi­ness’ bot­tom line.

The next time your boss brings in a box of ap­ple frit­ters or a bag of home­made cook­ies, bring up the idea of her or him pay­ing for a gym mem­ber­ship in­stead. For those em­ploy­ers who sense a lack of mo­ti­va­tion, af­ter­noon slug­gish­ness, and high ab­sen­teeism, maybe it’s time to bud­get for a well­ness pro­gram and com­mit­tee. While you don’t have to go all out and get gym mem­ber­ships and buy Lu­l­ule­mon’s for ev­ery em­ployee, just start by hav­ing healthy snacks avail­able at break times. It might just show to your em­ploy­ees that you care.

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