It's no secret that healthcare costs in the U.S. continue to rise. A USA Today article quoting a report from the Department of Health and Human Services predicts that the $2.5 trillion we spent on healthcare in 2009 will nearly double by 2019 to $4.7 trillion.
Employee Health Care Costs
The $2.5 trillion spent in 2009 equates to about $8,047 per person. Who couldn't use a little of their $8,000 in personal medical expenses back in their pocket? Seems like it might take a superhero—or maybe a really innovative, dynamic, creative, and engaging activity—to turn around this course and help manage health expenses.
One Superhero Can Help Corporations Turn Employee Health Around
Enter superhero, stage left...
Here's the thing: Walking, it turns out, is good for your health—if you have a body that lets you do it, if you have a place to do it, if you have the shoes in which to do it, and if you have the time and inclination to do it. Those are a lot of ifs, but employers have great potential to turn those possible barriers into clear-cut opportunities for their employees. Here are some tips:
- Build the infrastructure for safe walking spaces at your campus. Create a "route" with maps available at your main entrances. If your building is big enough, make an indoor route for bad-weather days. Establish a buddy board where employees can post walking interests (such as time of day, pace, and desired distance) to match up with colleagues for group walks. Build a wellness incentive program around walking.
- Give away gift certificates for free or discounted walking shoes to launch your new walking initiative. Your employees are a substantial customer base for a local walking/running specialty shoe store. The retail establishment might be willing to cut a deal to your employees on a long-term basis.
- Help your employees understand the personal value of regular exercise. Nudge them toward developing a desire to be active. Tie this back to employee health and vitality rather than to the corporate bottom line. Teach them about their preventable health risks and how regular exercise is a proven means for improving health.
Try Walking as A First Step Toward Corporate Wellness
Turns out, it doesn't take a superhero to turn the tide. But it does take leadership in the workplace to put some structure around opportunities for walking at work. Take it one step at a time. For very little money, you can establish a health culture at your office fueled by walking.