The True Costs of Unhealthy Employees

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How much do employee illnesses cost your company in the long run?

For businesses all across the country, good health among employees is not only beneficial for a productive and more motivated office, but it is also the gift that keeps on giving in terms of keeping health care costs at bay. Think about it―a healthy employee means both lower health care claims for your company, and lower deductibles and co-payments for employees. It’s a win-win situation all around!
 
Unfortunately, in this day and age, only about one in seven employees (just 13.9 percent of the entire workforce) are free from the added costs that chronic health conditions and illness can bring. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, an employee of normal weight with no chronic conditions logs an average of just 0.34 unhealthy days per month, or four sick days per year. So, what does that say for the cost of sick days and illness for the 86.1 percent that make up the rest of the work force?
 

 
According to Gallop, the total cost of unhealthy workers (including lost productivity) in the United States is $153 billion a year. That is nearly four times greater than in the U.K., where 20 percent of the full-time workforce is healthy. This includes a number of factors that corporate profits must cover, such as absenteeism, employee turnover, low-productivity and morale.
 
To help you get a better idea of just how much unhealthy employees can cost your business in the long run, we have put together some basic facts about the cost of workplace illnesses:
 
Overweight Employees
 
According to the Gallop survey, individuals who were overweight or obese, but had no chronic conditions, reported an average of 0.36 unhealthy days per month. However, with the addition of one to two chronic conditions, the employees missed an average of 1.08 days per month. This added up to more than $32 billion in lost productivity costs. This study took into account several chronic conditions that often accompany obesity, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack and more.
 
Health Care Claims
 
Health studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that chronic conditions make up for nearly 75 percent of health care claims. This could include common sicknesses such as the flu, a common cold, allergies, pink eye, etc. By including these different types of illness into the overall cost of sickness, ill health actually costs employers $1.1 trillion annually, while $277 billion is spent on treatment. This does not even include the out-of-pocket cost that many of these illnesses can bring to employees themselves.
 
Benefits of Walking
 
Corporate-sponsored wellness programs go a long way in attacking chronic diseases and reducing health care costs.  Walking just 30 minutes a day has been shown to reduce risk of, heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, colon and breast cancer, and depression.
 
Healthier employees not only spend fewer days away from work, but they can also end up saving your company thousands of dollars. Wellness programs, such as the ones offered here at Walkingspree, are a great way to motivate your workplace to become more health-conscious,  and improve your company’s bottom line. To learn more, be sure to contact Walkingspree today.
 
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