It’s a busy time of year for many corporate managers. As the year comes to a close, it’s time to set objectives for next year and the plans needed to execute them. For many companies, this is also the time of year that employee healthcare plans are changing. Increasingly corporate benefits managers are looking at implementing wellness programs to improve employee productivity while at the same time reduce the overall cost of providing healthcare benefits for their employees. We take a look at one such program, Go365, which Formaspace is implementing on behalf of its employees in a partnership with Humana.
“I believe that by working together, each of us can make a difference in the life of someone else.”
– Angela Shaw, TEDx – Public Speaker | President-Elect Austin HR Management Association | Formaspace Human Resources Manager
As Formaspace continues its rapid double-digit growth, we’re always on the look out for ways to make our company a more attractive, safer and healthier place for our employees to grow and advance in their careers.
In fact, you might say we are proponents of “eating our own dog food” — meaning that we not only work hard to create efficient, safe, healthy work environments for our industrial furniture customers, we also seek to promote a healthy work environment here at our own Austin, Texas factory headquarters.
Corporate Wellness Programs at Formaspace Encourage Employees to Live Healthier Lives
As we grow from a small startup to a major, mid-tier manufacturer of industrial furniture,we knew it was time to introduce a more formal corporate welfare program, explains Angela Shaw, Formaspace’s Human Resources Manager.
“We’re excited to announce a partnership with Humana that we believe will help us provide a friendly, comprehensive wellness program that will help encourage each of our employees to become more engaged in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle,” says Angela.
“We feel that this new program, called Go365,is a good fit for our workplace community here at Formaspace. The Go365wellness program dovetails nicely with the outdoorsy,fitness-oriented lifestyle that all of us living here in the Austin, Texas area love so much. We feel it adds another dimension to our existing team building programs and the other corporate ‘perks’ that our employees appreciate already.”
Studies Show That Employees Engaged in Corporate Wellness Programs Achieve Tangible Health Benefits
To learn more about the new corporate wellness program, we’d like to introduce Holley Ford, a Consumer Engagement Professional at Humana.
We wanted to ask Holley what she could tell us about her experience with implementing corporate wellness programs across the country. For example, what are some of the key reasons that companies should make a proactive investment in health and wellness on behalf of their employees?
According to Holley, “workplace wellness is important for many reasons. Creating a culture of wellness in an organization not only makes a positive impact on the company’s health care cost and productivity, but it can also improve the morale among employees. Individuals who adopt healthy habits tend to be happier and lessen their risk of depression. Implementing a wellness program where employees can participate in activities and challenges together builds comradery and team inclusion.”
Productivity Losses by Employers Due to Health Problems Total $226 Billion Each Year
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle at work not only helps your employees, but it can also have a critical impact on your company’s bottom line.
For example, did you know that (according to the CDC) productivity losses link to absentees and costs employers $225.8 billion every year? That works out to roughly $1,685 per worker.
Companies can focus their efforts in these areas to help reduce these costs:
The first area to focus on is implementing a health and safety program that identifies and removes hazardous conditions at the workplace. According to Liberty Mutual, serious, nonfatal disabling workplace injuries cost nearly $62 billion in direct US workers compensation claims. According to calculations by Stanford University researches, the costs due to lower back pain injuries – both at work and at home – could total as high as $85 billion. Formaspace can help. We can provide your industrial facility with a Rapid Plant Assessment to help you identify hazards and inefficiencies that could lead to workplace injuries. Also, our full line of ergonomic industrial furniture, including our sit-to-stand workbenches and tables can help reduce back injuries on the job.
The second area that company managers should focus on is to educate and encourage their employees on how to live a healthy lifestyle, whether at home or at work. As we’ve written about recently in our report on the challenges of health literacy, one in three Americans are putting their health at risk due to lack of understanding of basic medical terminology and basic principles of leading a healthy lifestyle. When designing an effective corporate wellness program, employers should be aware of the topten health conditions that lead to mortality among Americans:
- Heart Disease
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases, e.g. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, and Asthma
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
- Intentional self-harm (suicide)
In response,wellness programs should focus on promoting these five different healthy lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect on reducing premature mortality:
1. Quit Smoking
Statistics show this is far and away the most important step you can do to improve your health. Smoking can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, various forms of COPD, such as emphysema, and strokes.
2. Maintain a Proper Weight
Obesity is a major health concern. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple screening tool that will tell you if you are overweight for your height.
3. Perform Vigorous Exercise
Be sureto raise your heart rate and keep your circulatory system in good health. Do strength training to keep your muscles and bones strong. (Strength training is especially important as we age to prevent accidents, such as falls.)
4. Eat More Nutritious Meals
As the saying goes, we are what we eat. Cutting down on processed food at restaurants or the grocery store in favor of cooking with more fresh fruits and vegetables can help control your weight and may help prevent diseases in the future.
5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation (or Abstain)
The other option is to avoid drinking entirely. Excessive drinking can lead to short-term health risks (think drinking and driving) as well as long-term damage to your liver and other organs. Drinking can exacerbate conditions such as diabetes, and it may also be associated with the onset of cancer.
Humana’s Go365 Program Offers Incentive Programs to Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle
Humana recently concluded a three-year impact study on the effect that their corporate wellness program had on employee well-being and healthcare utilization.
According to Holley, “one of the important things to mention about this study is that individuals who were engaged in the Go365 wellness program decreased their risk for lifestyle related chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes by 24.4 percent. This means that people who were moderate and high risk for these diseases were able to lower their risk for heart disease and stroke by incorporating more movement and healthy living into their daily routine. By participating in a wellness program, people will physically feel better and stronger. In addition there is a positive financial impact because engaged people showed to have lower claims cost than those who are unengaged in a wellness program. Each of these conditions can negatively impact an organization’s financial well-being because they result in high claims cost, as well as increased absenteeism.”
“Encouraging employees to become engaged can have a significant positive impact on an organization’s financial well-being, thanks to reduced health insurance claims cost, as well as reduced absenteeism,” Holley notes.
The Go365 corporate wellness program encourages employees to pursue healthy habits such as keeping track of calories eaten throughout the day or encouraging more exercise, such as walking or working out in the gym. As each individual meets their individual wellness goals, they progress through different ward levels, from blue to bronze, to silver, then gold, and the ultimate goal: platinum status.
Holley explains that “the more healthy activities you participate in the more points you earn. There are a variety of activities you can do to earn points– ranging from educational courses to preventive doctor visits and personalized activities recommended just for you. The best way to start the program is by completing the Health Assessment. This is a thorough questionnaire that helps Go365 assess where individuals are in their health journey and what they can do to improve their health and well-being. Members can also get started by logging a workout (starting at just 1,000 steps!) or completing a biometric screening. The program then guides customers on a journey to better health by awarding Points for movement, healthy eating, donating blood, meditation, and sleeping to name a few. Each person’s pathway is unique to their wellness goals and they can select the activities that are best for them”.
“One of the major things we encourage in the program is movement. We award points for taking walking breaks and parking farther away. We also award points for getting enough sleep and food tracking. These three things help get oxygen to the brain so people can stay alert and focused throughout the day,therefore leading to higher productivity on the job. “
Active Management Participation Helps Deliver Higher Workplace Productivity Results
Given Humana’s broad experience implementing corporate wellness programs are across the USA, does Holley have any secret tips she could share to help make this a successful program at Formaspace or at other companies?
Yes, explains Holley. “I will tell you that the most successful companies do well in the program when there is leadership buy-in. They understand the benefits of the program and they not only encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices, but they make Go365 fun to use. I have a company with 100 percent participation ata high level. They run step challenges and offer healthy lunches, as well as monetarily incentivize their employees to use the program. On a more individual level, I have a customer who started using Go365 and in his biometric screening discovered his cholesterol and blood pressure were high. He made it a goal to move more, tracked his steps throughGo365 and started tracking his food. Within months, he had lost weight and improved his numbers, which lowered his risk for a chronic condition.”
What about recruiting and retention programs? Do corporate wellness programs assist these efforts?
“One of the most important things a wellness program can do is create comradery and raise morale. The Go365 program has many opportunities for companies to create step challenges and healthy employer events. By doing these things together, employees have the opportunity to bond and spend some time during their day engaging in activities that can help relieve stress. Beyond that, they feel better after these events.”
Finally, we asked Holley if Humana had its own goals for the Go365 program.
“Yes,” says Holley. “Humana has a ‘bold goal’ to help the communities we serve be 20 percent healthier by 2020.”
That would be a remarkable achievement indeed.
“Thank you. I am very proud to be a part of Humana’s Go365 team. I feel so lucky that I get to help people improve their lives on a daily basis. I think the Go365 program is a great step in that direction.”
We want to thank Holley Ford for answering our questions about Go365, and we look forward to achieving our wellness goals in the years to come.
Create a Healthy Corporate Wellness Environment with Formaspace
Formaspace is a leading manufacturer of furniture and laboratory solutions for the industrial manufacturing, healthcare and bioscience, distribution and logistics, education and government markets.
Over 80% of our customers are Fortune 500 companies, but we also create custom furniture solutions for smaller companies, startups, and individuals. Want to join the team? Be sure to check out the Formaspace career page for current open positions!
If you can imagine it, we can build it, here at our factory headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Talk to one of our Formaspace Design Consultants today. They will be happy to share their experience to make your next facility project a resounding success.