How Can You Encourage a Heart-Healthy Workforce?
The American Heart Association has recently published the 2018 statistics for cardiovascular diseases and the results are grim. They have discovered that every 38 seconds someone in America dies from a cardiac-related event. Not only are these diseases proving deadly, they are becoming costly too, racking up $329.7 billion in health expenses and productivity losses alone. As an employer, a significant portion of your workforce and dollars may be at risk when it comes to heart-related diseases. Here are a few ways you can encourage heart-health with your staff.
Get Your Employees on Their Feet
Brisk walking for 2 ½ hours or high-intensity exercise for 1 hour and 15 minutes each week reduces one’s risk for heart-related diseases. You can help your employees with physical fitness by installing an on-site gym for their use or opening a corporate membership at your local gym. Encourage your employees to be active during their breaks at work, and offer incentives like Fitbits for stellar work performance. Consider organizing a company-wide walking competition or field day to bring your team together for a common fitness goal.
Offer an Apple a Day
Take a look at what your employees have on their plate at lunch. If they are indulging in fast food or sugary beverages too often, you can help them make a change. Eating a healthy diet complete with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish is one of the most important things one can do for their heart.
If employee dining options are on-site, see what changes your culinary staff can make to the menu to provide heart-healthy choices. In the event that your employees are responsible for choosing meals outside of the office, get creative with what you can offer and explore options like weekly visits from healthy food trucks, vegetarian delivery, or simply keeping the break room stocked with fresh produce.
Give Them Some Space
Stress is a huge risk factor when it comes to cardiovascular-related illness, including high blood pressure, which was responsible for over 78,000 deaths in 2015 alone. Give your employees access to work-life balance options like flexible scheduling, work from home opportunities, and virtual meetings when possible. Also, do not make them feel pressured to check their email or answer their personal phones during their off hours. Employee wellness goes through the roof when your workforce has time to attend to all areas of their life.
Advocate for Screening
As an employer, it is likely that one of the perks you offer your staff is medical insurance. Encourage your employees to use their medical benefits. At the very least, they should take part in important heart-health tests like cholesterol screening every year. One in three Americans has levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) that are too high, increasing their risk for cardiac-related events. If you are concerned that your staff is not taking their heart health seriously, consider bringing the laboratory to them through corporate health fairs, a mobile health clinic, or point of care devices like Cardiochek.
Sometimes, all it takes is a few small changes to show your employees that heart health matters to you. Over 92 million Americans are currently diagnosed with a cardiovascular-related health condition, which means it is likely that at least one person on your staff is part of that number, or will be in the future. An active lifestyle, healthy eating, stress management, and routine screening can make all the difference for your workforce.