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Are Employers Responsible for Employee Health?

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Should employees be held responsible for their employees’ health? Some say yes. Should we go so far as to include Employee Health as a line item on the annual report? Possibly.

Of course employers should support worker well-being. But should companies be held accountable for those employees who choose to smoke, booze it up (after hours, of course) or refuse to exercise or meditate. Now, that’s a slippery slope.

The Influence Design Has on Well-Being

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As I walked through the halls of High Point Market last week and NeoCon in June, I remembered what a profound effect design can have on our well-being. Our work as designers, architects and contractors can make a huge impact in commercial and residential design. From the type of lighting we choose to the way we situate our structures on a plot of land.

Open Letter: Dear CEOs,

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I’m reposting my open letter to CEOs because I want the word out. We as managers, as directors, as presidents, as chiefs, we as leaders of all types have a responsibility to not only do right by our customers but also, and possibly more importantly, to do right by our employees. Employee well-being and customer satisfaction are inextricably linked. Happy employees, happy company, happy customers. Please pass this on and embrace it yourself, as we’re all leaders in one form or another…

 

Dear CEOs,

If it’s true that actively disengaged workers are costing the US $550 billion (Gallup) in economic activity annually and stress is costing American businesses $300 billion per year (World Health Organization), doesn’t it follow that even if we make slight improvements in employees’ lives, the net savings or contributions to economic activity could be in the hundreds of millions, if not in the billions?

How do we do this? There’s no pill…no single solution; however, small steps add up to big changes. One small step is tweaking how we view our employees. Whole beings who have whole lives walk through the office doors each morning with whole stuff going on…stuff from home, stuff from yesterday at work…emotional stuff, mental stuff, physical stuff, spiritual stuff, social stuff (some add environmental). How can you, as a CEO, address each of these facets of health in each of your employees?

You cannot. What can you do?

The Impact of Design on Health and Wellness

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What could be better than creating “Human Spaces: Spaces Designed with the Human in Mind?” Creating spaces for humans should not only be of interest to designers but to people who work, who shop, who live, who go to school in these environments. That’s everybody!

I jumped at the chance to write for Human Spaces. Check out their web site and my blog on The Impact of Design on Health and Wellness (repost below).

The Impact of Design on Health and Wellness

While wellness in the individual is multifactorial, signs point to a distinct link between wellness and design. As we improve the built environment with design elements that include better lighting, more fresh air and the use of materials and products that don’t leach toxic chemicals into the air, it would follow that health and well-being of the occupants should improve.

WCHL Interviews Melinda Easterling of Easterling Consulting

Listen to Today’s Business as Sharon Hill interviews Melinda Easterling of Easterling Consulting on WCHL.  Easterling discusses the importance of creating quiet spaces in the workplace.


Download MP3

What Should Corporate Wellness Programs Really Look Like?

man receiving hot stone massagePiggybacking on last week’s blog on corporate wellness initiatives, let’s consider in more detail what companies can do to foster employee well-being.

The first aspect in an office setting that comes to mind is the building itself. What can companies do to promote wellness within its structure?

Daylighting and circadian lighting within a building are fundamental to employee health. Access to windows and natural light is ideal. Employers should encourage their employees to take their breaks outside or by a window.

Corporate Wellness Programs…Do They Really Work?

sphygmomanometer free imageImagine if your employer asked you what your cholesterol level is, your BP (blood pressure), how often you exercise, what your reproductive plans are, if you’re happy at home…oh wait, they do!

Corporate Wellness programs often include questionnaires with very personal questions that seemingly have nothing to do with your work life. Employers want to reduce health care costs and, with good intentions to improve employee health, they engage corporate wellness firms to put wellness programs in place. Do these wellness programs improve well-being?

Some say yes:

Open Letter… Dear CEOs,

Corporate Meditation Rooms

Dear CEOs,

If it’s true that actively disengaged workers are costing the US $550 billion (Gallup) in economic activity annually and stress is costing American businesses $300 billion per year (World Health Organization), doesn’t it follow that even if we make slight improvements in employees’ lives, the net savings or contributions to economic activity could be in the hundreds of millions, if not in the billions?

How do we do this? There’s no pill…no single solution; however, small steps add up to big changes. One small step is tweaking how we view our employees. Whole beings who have whole lives walk through the office doors each morning with whole stuff going on…stuff from home, stuff from yesterday at work…emotional stuff, mental stuff, physical stuff, spiritual stuff, social stuff (some add environmental). How can you, as a CEO, address each of these facets of health in each of your employees?

You cannot. What can you do?