Health and Finance: Why should Employers Offer Health Benefits?
Health benefits are one of the most important benefits provided to an employee. However, the employee is not the only one reaping the benefits. High quality health benefits provided by an employer can also aid in the financial wellbeing of their company. The absence of a decent health care benefit program could hinder the company’s ability to attract and maintain desirable, high-quality candidates; potentially threatening the business’ overall success.
Healthy and Safe Employees are Productive Employees
Health insurance coverage usually includes preventative care. Preventive health screenings and checkups help prevent employees from becoming chronically ill. Chronic illness can mean a major loss of productivity and the cashing of an inordinate number of sick days. Several studies have shown that the healthier a person is, the more productive and satisfied they will be in their overall lives.
Another major component to employee productivity is a sense of security. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety is one of the key components to an individual’s quality of life. According to Devcon Home Security, employees residing in southern states are at an increased risk for home invasion, with approximately 42% of home invasions occurring in the region. Perform a risk-assessment of the communities where your employees reside; with the goal of providing both a healthier and safer lifestyle. Health and safety improve employee productivity.
For a company to financially succeed, productive employees are essential. Companies should take advantage of quality health insurance programs for their employees. As a result, companies will save on unnecessary costs, such as: recruiting and training costs for additional staff to supplement or replace ill employees; direct medical costs; workers compensation, and disability. And it’s about more than just physical illness. For example, according to the CDC, depression causes an average of 200 million lost workdays each year, costing employers a loss of revenue anywhere from $17 to $44 billion annually. Physical activity is a natural mood elevator, and has been proven to relieve anxiety, depression, and other mental and even physical struggles, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Get Fit, Get Paid
It is no secret that obesity is a growing epidemic in this country. Heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, and cancer are all big health care cost drivers for most companies. Most of these conditions can be prevented with proper physical care. Fit employees are less likely to get sick or stressed; they have more energy, and exhibit more self confidence than unfit employees Physical fitness enhances the quality of work produced. Granted, employers are not solely responsible for an employee’s physical fitness. But, an employer that supports the physical health of their employees will reap enormous benefits in the work place, maximizing financial growth. The long-term financial benefits of providing employees with proper healthcare definitely outweighs the short-term investment required to find and provide superior healthcare. Physical fitness and quality healthcare are imperative for a functioning and prospering business.
Oh, and let’s not forget the potential tax benefits employers offering health insurance. The employer’s contribution to an insurance plan may allow them an income tax deduction. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees may even be qualified for a tax credit in return for purchasing health benefits for their employees. Everyone loves a little tax deduction, right?
5 Ways an Employer can Promote Healthy Lifestyles:
Implementing a workplace wellness program will reduce healthcare costs for employers. Based on my experience, successful office initiatives encompass five core areas:
* Promote exercise
o Lunch hour walking club
o Secure bike parking for commuters
o Discounts at local gyms
o Promote exercise in the home
* Lots of people cannot afford a gym, and who wants another monthly fee? An alternative to a gym is creating a comfortable workout regimen in your own home. Investing in a multipurpose workout machine, like an elliptical trainer, could be beneficial in many aspects of life and more economical in the long run.
o Educate employees on mental health; where to find help, signs to know when to seek help, etc. o Educate employees on healthy lifestyle choices, such as nutrition facts, and workout tips.
* Promote preventative measures.
o Bring a doctor into the office for one day every few months to avoid employees having to take a day off work.
o Fund vaccinations for employees.
o Offer rewards for employees who engage in healthy behaviors.
* Limit or reduce unhealthy food options in the workplace.
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