We’ve talked a lot recently about how workplace culture and employee well-being can have an impact on your employee benefits plan. Happier and engaged employees are less prone to fall ill when physical and mental health issues are avoided or addressed early on.
Having a positive work culture that encourages open dialogue about mental health will undoubtedly promote employee well-being, but what about health issues unrelated to the workplace? Being aware of preventive employee health and wellness and emphasizing wellness activities can help keep your workforce in good health.
Here are a few basics to get you thinking about preventive employee health and wellness:
1. Understanding preventive Healthcare
Quite simply, preventive healthcare is all about being proactive. It encourages healthy practices and medical check-ins. This helps prevent potential issues in the future, like disease and high risk or costly illnesses. The goal is to focus on creating healthy habits now. This helps employees remain healthier in the long term. It can be as straightforward as encouraging healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Regular check-ups with a person’s doctor and dentist also help.
The impact of preventive healthcare on employee health and wellness is clear – a healthy lifestyle translates to fewer and less serious healthcare claims. In comparison, a person who does not focus on taking preventive measures for their health may end up with a chronic health condition as they age.
2. How to Encourage Wellness and preventive Health at Work
There are plenty of ways to motivate your workforce when it comes to preventive healthcare. Making sure employees are aware of and making use of your benefits plan is a great way to start. The most basic coverage in a plan addresses simple things like good dental health and other practitioners like physiotherapists or nutritionists can encourage an ongoing focus on wellness.
Offer healthy snacks in your lunch room. Start up a wellness challenge in the workplace to get your people moving. If you have space for standing or treadmill desks, make them available to employees and educate them on the health benefits of avoiding sitting all day. Walking meetings are another great way to get people up and moving during the day. Get creative if your workforce is mainly remote. Outdoor team meet-up for a walk or a video session to stretch and do yoga are great ways to move and stay active together.
No matter what you do to encourage employee health and wellness in the workplace, we suggest having a wellness leader dedicated to the cause. Having someone champion the initiative will ensure it is top of mind and an ongoing part of the way you work.
3. Where Employee Benefits Plans Come In
Health and dental care in an employee benefits plan are both considered to be preventive healthcare. This includes coverage for basic things like prescriptions and dental insurance. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are also a fantastic resource in a plan as they offer employees access to services that can help address mental health issues or personal challenges a person is facing.
There are also helpful options that can be added to a benefits plan that contribute to employee health and wellness. Healthcare spending accounts are a great option for employees who require additional medical services after they’ve reached maximum coverage in their plan. Any expenses incurred in a healthcare spending account are non-taxable. Wellness spending accounts are also great for expenses that encourage wellness activities – for example, buying a treadmill – however these are considered a taxable benefit. This means that the expense will be taxed in the hands of the employee.
preventive healthcare aims to keep a person active and healthy. By encouraging wellness activities and employee well-being at work, you can help prevent long-term health issues. A positive culture in the workplace is driven by sincere concern for employee health and wellness. A healthy employee is a happy employee.
Contact us to learn more about wellness activities in the workplace and preventive healthcare in your benefits plan