Health, specifically employee health, is what happens outside of the doctor’s office. From your first sip of coffee in the morning to your brushed teeth at bedtime – health happens all day long. In fact, healthcare determines only 11 percent of your overall health while social, economic, and environmental factors determine 50 percent of your overall health. Where you live, work, and play factor into your overall health and the social determinants of health help clinicians develop a more complete health picture to improve employee health.
Understanding this reality, employers are expanding healthcare benefits and innovative health resources to support employee health at the worksite. Marathon Health is a worksite healthcare provider and over the years we’ve found three ways employers can start supporting employee health improvement.
1. Health Literacy
At Marathon Health, we provide a toolkit to engage employees in their health and wellness. Health promotion programs are scheduled during the lunch hour, before/after work, or during shift changes with a focus on healthy eating, fitness, chronic condition management, nutrition, mental health, and tobacco cessation, to name a few. You can also read more in our blog titled “The Benefits of Health Literacy.”
2. Work Environment
Whether your employee is working the production line, seated for nine hours a day, or driving a school bus, their work environment impacts their health. Recent studies show prolonged sitting and poor workplace activity can increase risk for heart attack, fatigue, back pain, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel.
Your employees and your organization will benefit from assessing employee workspaces. For starters, consider proper ergonomics, access to healthy nutrition in vending machines, food wellness resources, a standing desk or a yoga ball chair, and opportunities to be active at work.
3. Worksite Healthcare
Worksite health centers provide employees access to high-quality, low-cost healthcare. At BAE Systems, a defense manufacturing company, employees enjoy convenient healthcare at their worksite with acute care services, medication dispensing, health screenings, health coaching, and occupational health services. The onsite health center has driven a 100 percent employee engagement rate with BAE’s overarching employee wellness efforts.
“Instead of having to go to an urgent care clinic and a pharmacy for a sore throat, they can come to the onsite clinic and be in and out of the door within 20 minutes. Plus, our research indicates patients get better results through personalized, face-to-face health coaching. They form a relationship with their health coach.” – Kevin Robinson, wellness coordinator, BAE Systems.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, and the hurdles are much higher for some employees. Employers have a unique opportunity to challenge, motivate, and support their employees toward health improvement.