How to Inspire a Healthy and Happy IT Department

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 03-19-2014 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Do your organization's managers simply pay lip service when it comes to health initiatives for employees? If so, they're making a business mistake. Obesity and other major diseases cost employers up to $93 billion per year in health insurance claims, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (For a company with 1,000 employees, the cost of obesity amounts to $277,000 per year, the CDC reports.) Beyond this, businesses will pay more due to absenteeism, disabilities and reduced work output than they would on direct health-care costs as a result of an unhealthy workforce. Clearly, there's a tangible ROI for wellness programs and other efforts to encourage staffers to eat properly and stay active. And if you need further proof in supporting such endeavors, look no further than these results of a recent survey from Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company. Findings reveal that employees at companies with strong health cultures are less stressed, happier and more active than those at organizations with a poor health culture. "Many employees recognize the advantages of a healthy lifestyle, but may not have the time or motivation to take action," says Joann Hall Swenson, health engagement leader at Aon Hewitt. "Organizations that foster a strong culture of health—through leading by example and encouraging healthy activities—will cultivate a workforce that demonstrates better health behaviors and is more actively engaged." To give CIOs guidance about how to get started, Aon Hewitt offers best practices as well, which we're including here. For more about the survey, click here.

 
 
 
  • Self-Assured

    75% of employees at companies with strong health cultures feel they have control over their health, compared to 63% of workers at organizations with weak health cultures.
    Self-Assured
  • Under Pressure

    Only one-quarter of those at strong health-culture workplaces say that stress has a negative impact on their work, but nearly one-half of those at weak health-culture organizations say stress is hurting their performance.
    Under Pressure
  • Satisfaction Status

    Two-thirds of workers within strong health-culture environments say they're generally happy, while less than one-third of those at weak health-culture organizations say they are.
    Satisfaction Status
  • Check Up

    72% of professionals at strong health-culture companies say they've had an annual physical within the past year, compared to 64% of those at weak health-culture companies.
    Check Up
  • Work Out

    62% of staffers at strong health-culture organizations exercise at least three days a week, while less than one-half of those at weak health-culture businesses do.
    Work Out
  • Well Being

    77% of employees in a strong health-culture environment take part in a wellness program, as opposed to just 46% of those at companies with a weak health culture.
    Well Being
  • Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Integrate Wellness Throughout the Day

    As opposed to a scheduled mentality, support efforts that incorporate healthier living throughout the day, like standing meetings, constant access to healthier foods, and opting to walk instead of sitting for routine meetings and discussions.
    Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Integrate Wellness Throughout the Day
  • Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Lead by Example

    It starts with you, as your IT department aspires to ascend to your level of authority. So you should literally "walk the walk" on health awareness instead of just talking about it.
    Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Lead by Example
  • Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Game Time

    Adopt gamification-inspired ways to motivate, such as offering awards for IT employees who meet various health goals—a technique which will support team-building as well.
    Best Practices for Encouraging a Healthier IT Department: Game Time
 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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