Cost of Health?

by Guy Ralfe on June 24, 2009

stethoscopeWhat is the likelihood of a small startup being successful if its members don’t take their health seriously? In small companies it is known that everyone has to wear multiple hats and it usually takes all hands on deck just to keep things going. So if you have an unhealthy1 person or organization can you afford the cost?

There are numerous studies and statistics on how much health affects the performance of an individual. It is also known that in business people have to work in social networks in order to get tasks done and the mood of one can often lower the mood of a group. Often the findings of health studies on employees or employers environments with poor health shows up with increased absence, lower work-rate, mistakes, minimal teamwork and poorer customer service. All of these are expensive costs to any size business.

Who do you want out there in front of your clients and prospective customers  – your lean healthy employee that got up and exercised before work, is energized and in a great enthusiastic mood for the day ahead or your overweight and unkempt employee that no one in the office will work with? Choices like this are easy but we don’t always find ourselves in a position to choose, often this degradation of health takes place over a period of time. The answer lies in not trying to avoid the issue – and that is by both the employer and employee – but to make a conscious decision to act to take care of it.

A company in the UK – Parcelforce – in a bid to improve employee motivation and attendance, introduced health screening clinics, gym memberships, bicycle loans and health education support covering stress, smoking and nutrition. Absence reduced by 33%, employee satisfaction improved by a similar amount, workplace accidents reduced by 45% and the program contributed towards productivity and customer service improvements.

As individuals our bodies are the one source of god given power that we all have by virtue of being born – How we take care of our health over our 40 odd year careers is likely the most powerful daily decisions we will make!

1 Unhealthy being anyone not respecting their bodies like illness, weight problems, poor diet, smoking, alcohol and drugs abuse, physical fitness, mental health, work-related stress, tiredness, irritability

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