Healthy employees are more productive and can be cost beneficial to companies. For example, a research study conducted on the return on investment (ROI) for worksite health promotion and disease prevention programs in nine companies, found significant ROI with the benefit to cost ratio ranging from $1.49 to $4.91 in benefits per dollar spent on the program.54 The following are some suggested worksite actions for employers that can encourage healthy behaviors in their employees:
- Be creative about developing exercise options. For example, think outside the “conference room box” by encouraging employees to hold discussions while walking with their colleagues rather than sitting in a conference room.
- Provide exercise space. For example, a conference room with a VCR player, a couple of low-impact aerobics tapes, and some low-cost mats made available at lunch time can serve as an exercise space for employees as well as a valuable networking activity that can improve morale and productivity.
- Provide healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines to employees.
- Encourage employees to adopt healthy behaviors. For example, offer “contests” with prizes to encourage exercise for employees.
- Consider providing health promotion or wellness programs and disease management programs for employees as part of their health benefits.
- Provide on-site education about diabetes prevention to employees.
- Utilize resources that are readily available at no cost to employers, such as Diabetes at Work (http://www.diabetesatwork.org/).
- Consider partnering with the local YMCA or community health club to offer discounted memberships to employees and their families.
- Partner with community organizations to develop and implement community health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
- Request health insurers to provide appropriate information for employees to educate them on their health and diabetes prevention.
- Provide employees information about local parks and walking trails.
54 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prevention makes common cents. (2003). Available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/prevention/.