When we aren’t feeling well, a first instinct is to place a hand on our heads and see if we’re feeling warmer than usual, by which time it is usually too late to keep from infecting our colleagues. But we hardly ever take our temperatures when we feel great and that’s where preventive measures come in.
Fostering wellness in the workplace is a trend that is growing exponentially along with rising healthcare costs. Many companies have already implemented preventive measures to keep their employees and their businesses healthy but others are still suffering the results of a lack of prevention in greater absenteeism, stress and chronic illnesses.
Forbes magazine recently quoted sustainable food leader Michel Nischan at the Ashoka Future Forum. “Healthcare systems often treat patients as numbers,” he said, “Instead of people who would live better with the right resources.” Early detection, lifestyle guidance, access to resources are key in preventing illness, beating harmful habits, and maintaining a healthy office.
If your company doesn’t participate in preventive care, or could take some suggestions on how to improve, perhaps you might ask HR to look into the following healthcare measures to benefit you and your co-workers.
Blood Pressure Screenings
As we age, our arteries go through structural changes and become prone to stiffness, resulting in high blood pressure. High blood pressure often has zero symptoms and can cause heart disease if left untreated. Offices can facilitate blood pressure screenings on site that take less than three minutes, and also provide medical professionals to answer questions and provide expertise.
Healthy Snack Options
We all have that drawer at our desk with a few sugary snacks, but your office should provide foods that give you protein and energy. Candy and sodas may seem like a perk, but switching to nuts, water, fruit and greens can curb your snacking and fill your body with the nutrients it needs to fight off colds and other viruses.
If you are trying to quit smoking, or struggling to maintain a balanced diet, you don’t have to find solutions alone. Many workplace healthcare programs offer lifestyle and substance abuse counseling to employees. If yours doesn’t, your HR representative can still serve as a resource. It’s your company’s job to keep your requests and circumstances confidential, and they’ll want to help you find the guidance you need.
It’s possible to foster a stronger sense of community and improve wellness for employees at the same time. Activities such as yoga, massage, meditation or cooking classes will allow employees to de-stress, consider their health, and take inventory of their bodies and minds. Americans often skip out on activities such as these when they have to travel, but by including them in the culture of an office, the business allows them to put health first, and show workers how much they care.