By Robin Nielsen, NC BCHN®

“There is nothing touchy-feely about increased profits.” Arianna Huffington

It’s dollars and cents vs. health and happiness. They both go together because having healthier happier employees = increased profits. The statistics are overwhelming.

Reducing stress is key to productivity and retention. Happy people generate positive energy.  And healthier employees, and those who feel their company is investing in their health, are likely to be happier.

That’s why there is a lot of data that supports the profitability of health and wellness programs in the workplace. In fact, most industry studies have shown that the ROI on a well-run employee wellness program can be as much as $3-$6 for every $1 invested, with savings realized 2-3 years after implementation.

The cost not to focus on employee wellness are big numbers as well. The average health care cost per employee was about $10,000 in 2013. And when you add in the average cost for absenteeism and inefficiency that is estimated to be another $14,000 per employee. That’s on average $24,000 per employee.

Over 70% of health care spending is caused by modifiable health risks such as lack of exercise, high blood pressure, being overweight, high cholesterol, etc. These are all preventative; but unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead to chronic diseases, costing businesses even more.

The “cubicle” mentality has created lots of sedentary employees causing many health issues.

So how do business owners keep their employees motivated and engaged, healthy and happy? Employers need to make a commitment to an ongoing mindset of employee wellness.

The foundation for this mindset needs to include:

  • Providing access to nutritious food and drinks
  • Encourage stress reduction (yoga, meditation programs, coaching)
  • Improve social connections
  • Integrate exercise and movement
  • Create healthier live-work balance
  • Ensure employees have opportunities to learn about making healthier lifestyle decisions.