The first reform is to stop boring employees with medical wellness, offering attractive-to-everyone REAL wellness programming that goes beyond the boring, risk reduction, medically-focused activities. Another reform is to change hiring practices towards the younger and more towards the older. This is a novel idea that is presented somewhat with humor.
Reform Idea #1 Start with Healthy Mental Health As The new Priority for Worksite Wellness
The evidence for a substantial return on investment in workplace health and wellness programs across the nation is established. But, the scope of these initiatives is minimal. Better yields without a broader focus are highly unlikely. I think the moment has arrived for business leaders to look at something fresh and unique. Including positive aspects of quality of life to workplace wellness. The program might be called positive mental health and wellness.
The goal of wellness is to increase employee awareness and development in critical areas of life. This includes efficient decision-making, the feeling of joy in life (instead of just seeking to prevent illness), and exploring expanded freedom or personal liberty. The term “real wellness” can be used to differentiate this focus on positive mental well-being states rooted in the present prevention and treatment model.
For the last three decades, corporate health initiatives have assisted in reducing, although they have not yet managed to control, the growing medical insurance or health care cost. The new strategy would help reduce the risks. However, it will focus on improving the quality of life through training and shaping cultural initiatives.
Particularly, the programming components would help employees understand the underlying factors that lead to happiness (positive psychological health), pathways to increased significance and meaning, the ability to think critically, and have an acute understanding of effective relationships, common decencies, and the elements of global stewardship to name a few. Training could also be offered on ethics about specific industrial or work environment dynamics and in-depth exposure to the major concepts from Western and other civilizations through studying philosophers and other thought leaders. This will result in an educated, more innovative, and engaged workforce and make the well-known prevention strategies for workplace wellness more appealing.
American businesses have been promoting healthy lifestyles since the late 1970s. Today the majority of American companies employing 50 or more employees are running an exercise program or wellness program, the most popular of which are smoking cessation, exercise, back care, and classes for stress reduction. They are also referred to as health promotion.
The business world is in no position to develop innovative ideas to make wellness at work more attractive. Companies spend more money on health insurance than rivals in other industrialized countries. The majority of employees are stressed and smokers who are overweight, sedentary, drink alcohol to excess and have chronic health issues. This is why we pay millions of dollars for medical treatment. We require more than medically controlled activities in the workplace to involve these employees and their family members. We must develop environments of learning that promote personal responsibility, self-directed success, and well-being.
Medical expenses consume the majority of corporate profits or more. Health-related wellness initiatives that promote mental health could supplement cost sharing and managed care, as well as cash-based rewards, risk-rating, and other incentives. The long-term plan of action must help employees to be healthy from the beginning.
The good news is that most illnesses are avoidable. The estimates suggest that 95% of the medical expenditure is used to treat and diagnose illnesses after they occur. The top factors believed to contribute to death and morbidity in high numbers are smoking tobacco, bad diet, and alcohol consumption. These are my opinion as symptoms that the leading causes of death are inadequate fitness and, more than that, an underlying malaise that causes people to not follow high-quality lifestyles! Fit people do not smoke, consume poor food or drink excessively, experience depression, and suffer from signs that can lead to premature death.
How can the workplace be designed to be an environment that encourages healthy mental well-being? Pursuing such a goal would require employees’ highest level of effort throughout their working lives. Maybe less so in our particular area. However, workplaces contribute to health issues in a variety of ways, such as stress-inducing commutes, lengthy hours, sleeping problems, unreasonable productivity expectations and pressures to conform, and many more.
There are many avenues toward positive mental health geared towards workplace health. There is no one approach that is the only way to go. Let your workforce discuss possible strategies and plans to develop positive lifestyle programs. The objective is simple To expand wellness programs for the company beyond the individual health concerns of a few to concerns about the quality of life of everyone, including families. The options are numerous and appealing to the majority of people.
One of the criticisms about workplace well-being is that it can appear self-indulgent for certain people due to the emphasis on individual well-being. The acceptance of positive mental health aspects like environmental consciousness, for example, may be able to address this issue. Mental health professionals could recognize critical global problems alongside personal well-being and better living quality. Imagine workplace discussions on carbon dioxide emissions and the other gases that cause the greenhouse effect, methods to adopt innovative energy technologies, and methods to limit energy use.
It’s nearly as exciting as examining the significance to the current world of the most innovative ideas of the most acclaimed thinkers, such as but not just Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, Protagoras, Lucretius, and Epictetus. Of course, no reason to overlook Spinoza, Hobbes, Burke, Erasmus, Hume, Voltaire, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Rousseau, Russell, Dewey, Ingersoll, Paine, Diderot, Clemens (Twain), Eliot, Darwin, Edison, Darrow, Murray, Schweitzer, and Einstein.
Compared to medical assessments, risk assessments, and other screenings, I’m sure you will see the potential to increase interest in workplace health by adding a healthy amount of mental health-related programming.
Let’s make workplace wellness more about living well and engaging everyone. We must also ensure that the new methods of workplace well-being are fun and a vital part of the success of an organization.
Reform Idea #2: Hire the old, and retire the young
Over the years, I’ve believed that natural, positive well-being rather than risk reduction can be the only way businesses can control their healthcare expenses. The key to workplace well-being is the well-being of employees. The employees must be motivated to make wise choices and confident in sustaining their positive intentions over time.
Then ask yourself, which of these two methods will create a workforce that adheres to healthy lifestyles?
- Policies that promote risk reduction or medical control?
- Policies that promote healthy living?
Obviously, this isn’t an either/or decision. But, as other aspects are similar, it’s much easier and less costly to design policies that promote healthy lifestyles and help them to stay healthy rather than convincing people with high-risk habits to change their lifestyles.
If you agree with me on this issue and you’re not surprised by my next suggestion. I believe the most effective way for companies to cut down on their cost of health insurance is to recruit and keep older individuals. In particular, make incentives for seniors to not retire when unable to perform the job. Additionally, concentrate on recruiting new employees not at college campuses but at nursing facilities. Advertise for people in retirement communities in nursing homes by inviting young employees to discuss jobs with their parents and grandparents.
Am I mad? It’s not that much. There is evidence that supports this shift to a more focused approach. The latest research indicates that older people in their 60s have the highest quality of life. They are those who exhibit behavior patterns clearly associated with the least risk of developing the illness. Additionally, those in their 60s are much less likely to participate in adrenaline-inducing, high-risk actions with higher accident rates. Additionally, those under age 60 are not as likely to become pregnant and, therefore, less likely to increase the cost of medical care and downtime costs associated with this kind of thing.
In the latest study, those who were older (60 or over) are three times as likely to regularly exercise, adhere to healthy eating habits, keep an optimistic outlook, have good social connections, and have less stress than those in their 30s.
The study, carried out through ComPsych Corporation, revealed that younger employees, as opposed to their elder counterparts, were relatively inactive, according to Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, the CEO and chairman of the research group. This was explained because people in their 30s tend to be more overwhelmed by raising a family and don’t have the time to exercise. (See “New Research Shows That Older Employees are Healthiest, People in their 30s are the most at risk for illness,” August 25, 2008, ComPsych Corporation.)
These differences mean that young workers are the most likely to experience long-term health issues, which will increase the medical cost burden that is already hindering corporations’ competitiveness and profits. The Kaiser Foundation’s latest (2007) annual study of health insurance company expenses revealed an increase of 78 percent in costs from 2001. This is nearly four times more than wage and cost of living increases. https://twitter.com/drjayfeldman
The disparities in lifestyle patterns between older and younger workers clearly demonstrate the benefits of my workplace health plan for employing and retaining older workers and then putting young people out into the wild. Take a look at these particular results:
- 52.2 percent of workers in their 60s were eating healthy diets. This is in contrast with 17.7 percent of people who were in their 30s.
- 27.3 percent of people in their 50s exercised for more than four days per week, whereas 19.6 percent of those aged 30 and older exercised at least four days a week.
- 82.6 percent of people in their 60s showed an optimistic outlook on life in contrast to only 46 percent of people in their 30s.
- 30.4 percent of workers in their 60s reported high-stress levels and 64.7 percent of those aged 30 and older had high-stress levels.