Companies must condone employees’ healthy lifestyles, in order to increase productivity within the workplace, which will potentially lead to higher profits. By encouraging their employees to lead healthy lifestyles, and partake in regular physical activity, companies will be projecting a positive image to society, improving the lives or their workers, whilst simultaneously reaping the financial benefits. As well as producing financial benefits, a healthy lifestyle can bring physiological and social benefits to companies and their employees.
Physical activity has been proven to increase productivity in the workplace. In a recent study of worker performance, Pronk stated that “higher levels of physical activity related to reduced decrements in quality of work performance and overall job performance. ” (2004, p. 19) This increase in productivity and efficiency created by healthier employees will eventually lead to higher profits for companies. A healthier employee will lead to a healthier bottom line, however this is not the only benefit that companies will receive as a result of encouraging regular exercise.
As well as being more energetic and productive, a healthier employee is generally happier. A workplace comprised of happy employees will lead to higher worker morale, and will create a more positive, friendlier workplace in general. Although the consequential increase in productivity will lead to higher profits, companies will financially benefit from condoning regular physical activities in more ways than one. U. S. postal company UPS experienced the following benefits after they implemented their ”Comprehensive Safety and Health Process” in 1995. On the whole, UPS has seen a decrease in absenteeism, an increase in productivity and morale, and a 60% reduction in on the job injuries since the program was first implemented. ” (Bloom, 2008, p. 41) By being more proactive in condoning employees’ healthy lifestyles, companies will potentially save funds spent on sick leave and workers’ compensation payouts, as healthy, fit employees are less likely to fall sick or be injured. Should they sustain injuries within the workplace, it is more likely that their injuries will be less serious than those sustained by an unfit or overweight employee.
Companies That Promote Health
The financial benefits of condoning employees’ healthy lifestyles were further outlined in a study that observed the outcomes of a health and productivity program implemented within the workplace. “Financially speaking, an effective, comprehensive, properly executed H&P (health and productivity) program can drive significant business results…. employers have implemented successful H&P programs leading to improved health, increased productivity and lower benefits costs – and, in turn, higher levels of performance, returns to shareholders and market premiums. (Wolf, 2008, p. 7) This study successfully reinforced each aspect of the financial benefit for companies of condoning regular physical activities and healthy lifestyles. Although the financial benefits for companies are extensive, the positive influence of employees’ healthy lifestyles extends much further into society. When encouraged by their employers to exercise regularly and lead healthy lifestyles, employees will more than likely continue to live healthily at home.
Health is after all, a lifestyle, and it will extend and apply to all aspects of employees’ lives. Given the current rising obesity epidemic, this positive influence will have a considerable impact on society, and eventually encourage other members of the community to adopt healthy lifestyles. An aspect of this issue that may be argued is that of its influence on childhood obesity. Whilst adult obesity is on the rise, childhood obesity is also rapidly increasing.
Some members of society may criticise that whilst employers condoning employees’ healthy lifestyles could decrease the prevalence of adult obesity, it will have no effect on the lifestyles of children in the community. Whilst it is true that it will take much more than the encouragement of employers to address the issue of obesity, it is a step in the right direction for all members of society. Although employers may only be encouraging their workers to exercise and lead healthy lifestyles, they are, at the same time, encouraging their employees’ families to do the same.
Should an employee decide to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and take advantage of the incentives offered to them by their employers, it is likely that this will have such a positive effect on their lives that they will then happily condone similar lifestyle changes to other members of their family, including their children. This encouragement may include preparing healthier meals at home, limiting intake of unhealthy convenience foods, and making exercise a regular, family activity.
By being more proactive in condoning employees’ healthy lifestyles, and promoting regular exercise, employers will not only be improving their profits, and increasing the health of their employees, they will also have a positive influence on the lifestyles of their workers families, and project a positive image to the community. However small their impact may be, it will help society work toward eliminating obesity, decreasing the occurrence of lifestyle related illnesses such as adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes, and creating a healthier community in general.
In order to enable their employees to lead healthy lifestyles and exercise regularly, employers must offer a means, and incentive to their workers, to encourage them to adopt this lifestyle change. This could be done in a number of ways, including offering employees a discount on gymnasium memberships, subsidising or even reimbursing the cost. Companies could also invest in the installation of fitness facilities within the workplace, making exercise and fitness even more accessible to their employees. By offering this benefit to all workers, companies are also increasing the ways in which they can attract new employees.
This may be the incentive needed to encourage highly employable workers to apply for positions within their company, as they are offering additional benefits, and creating a more appealing workplace in general. It may be argued that the cost of installing fitness facilities, or subsidising gym memberships would be a waste of company funding. However, this can potentially be viewed as an asset for companies. Companies invest in their employees each day, by paying them wages, benefits and superannuation.
However, in order to gain the maximum return on their investment, companies must make sure that their employees are working efficiently and productively, and generating high revenues. The best way of doing this is by ensuring that their employees are physically fit and healthy, making them more productive, and an asset to the company, instead of a potential liability. Therefore, it can be concluded that condoning employees’ healthy lifestyles and encouraging regular exercise is a credible way of increasing worker productivity and efficiency, which will ultimately lead to higher revenue for companies.
Whilst companies may incur initial costs when implementing health and productivity programs, they will potentially be saving company funds spent on sick leave payments and workers compensation payouts, which can often be very expensive. In addition to increased profits, companies will be projecting a positive image to the community, and influencing other members of society to adopt healthier lifestyles and helping to cease the rise in obesity.
Bibliography Bloom, S. 2008). Employee Wellness Program: How UPS Improved Productivity & Reduced Injuries. Professional Safety, p. 41 Pronk, N. P. , et al. (2004). The Association Between Work Performance and Physical Activity, Cardiovascular Fitness and Obesity. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 46, p. 19-25 Wolf, S. (2008). A Truly Healthy Bottom Line – Improving Financial Results Through Effective Health and Productivity Programs. Benefits Quarterly, 24, p. 7