The Zika virus has arrived in the United States with 14,059 reported cases in US territories. There have been 2,686 travel acquired cases in US States and the virus has been locally acquired by thirty-five people in the US. Individuals in the southern Florida region are cautioned to avoid mosquito bites and workers stationed in areas that are swamp-like in the Southeast region of the United States should be especially cautious.
How many working days were lost to sickness in the U.S. during our last flu season? 10 million? 50 million? Try 100 million!
Here are 5 tips to improve employee fitness and physical health:
- Look into a health-related program to promote physical activity and team building/camaraderie. Customized programs are proven to increase participants’ physical activity time by 35%. Include distribution of educational materials, counseling and training, friendly competition and goal-setting. The LIVESTRONG, Centers for Disease Control and National Corporate Wellness websites have excellent ideas and resources to get you started.
- Consider instating “flextime” -- flexible times for the beginning and end of each work day. If your employees have more flexibility in the hours they have to be in the workplace, there is more opportunity to engage in physical activity during the day. For example, flextime would allow for an employee to go to the gym in the morning, therefore arriving at and leaving work a little later. Taking lunch breaks at alternate times is also a nice flextime perk.
- Some gyms and fitness centers offer corporate partnership programs, in which case your employees would enjoy reduced membership costs. Do some research at your local fitness centers to see if this is an option for you.
- A few steps go a long way, so encourage employees to use the stairs instead of the elevator and to get up and move around as often as possible, within reason. Reinforce this encouragement with fun and friendly signs near the elevators.
- If your workplace and budget allow for it, look into installing a mini gym and showers so employees can get a workout without leaving the workplace.
If you need some motivation to start motivating your employees, here’s another staggering statistic:
According to the Wellness Council of America, sedentary living -- for example, sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day -- costs us as a nation $150 billion in healthcare costs. These costs are paying for diseases that stem from not getting enough physical activity. WELCOA calculates that 15% of all U.S. healthcare cost is due to sedentary lifestyles, so if you want to calculate what physical inactivity is costing your company, all you have to do is take 15% of your total healthcare expenditures for a year and you’ll have your number.
That should be enough incentive to get your employees moving!
Subscribe to our blog to stay tuned to our next post: 5 tips to improve employee morale.