Workplace wellness is now a business issue as health care costs soar. Healthcare costs are a $3 trillion annual expenditure. That is equal to over 17% of our country’s annual GDP. Health spending is growing at a 5+% annual rate.
All of us are impacted by these rising costs. About half of health expenditures are paid for by households and the federal government. The rest are paid by businesses, state/local governments and individuals. As a country, as individuals and as businesses we confront a health care cost crisis.
Personal choice drive health care costs higher
Personal choices are a major factor in driving up health care costs. I recently published the Boomer Generation Diet to highlight that we are in a national weight crisis. Our weight gain has resulted in a national obesity and diabetes epidemic. This epidemic is different from a flu epidemic. This weight crisis is tied to our personal choices on diet and exercise.
Work is also a contributor to our weight gain. Our work, commute and lives are increasingly being defined by stress and sitting.
The small business challenge is what to do?
Should a business get involved in work associates’ personal choices if they impact the company’s costs?
If stress, diet choices and sitting are driving health care costs higher then how should a business structure its work place? What are the boundaries for setting rules and offering incentives?
A well designed and implemented workplace wellness programs can be a tool for a business attempting to answer these questions. Continue reading