Take a look around your medical office for workplace wellness. Which employees would you say are the most productive? Are they the doctors, nurses, medical assistants or administrators who are mindful of what they eat and seem the least stressed? Odds are, medical employees contributing the most to the bottom line are the ones who are the healthiest.
Taking Care of Mental Health
Every time you fly, you may hear some iteration of the Oxygen Mask Rule, “Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” This rule applies to medical providers as well. We spend every day caring for patients that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves and our teams.
Often times we are able to identify, acknowledge and even address physical fatigue during or after a shift. However, it’s much harder with mental fatigue. The consequences of ignoring your mental health is staggering in the medical industry.
Did you know that according to WebMD, a physician commits suicide in the US every day? This is the highest suicide rate of any profession. I don’t bring up this statistic to bring you down but to acknowledge that we work in an at-risk profession, the rate of which is more than double that of the general population.
Corporate Wellness Magazine (CWM) says, “In general, people do not turn to suicide because they want to die. Rather, they want to end their emotional suffering and no longer see any other viable way to make that happen. In the early stages, many of those at risk are ‘suicidal without intent,’ meaning they have an overriding reason not to end their life, such as sparing their children the shock and trauma from parental suicide. Challenges like burnout, anxiety and depression make reasoning with one’s self more difficult, if not impossible. If a healthcare provider is also self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs, diminished cognitive capacity interferes with “thinking it over.’”
So, what can we do to address this? “Offer benefit programs to help providers address these challenges…Offerings that are free and confidential, such as employee assistance programs (EAP) which offer mental health counselling, physician wellness programs and other work/life resources, strive to overcome these obstacles by offering 24/7 support, guaranteeing privacy and removing any financial barriers.” CWM
I believe in a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. I’m sure you do, too. So why not build that thinking throughout your medical practice? If you’re looking for top medical talent, you’ve got to include a health and wellness package as an incentive to work for you instead of other competing medical providers.
Corporate Workplace Wellness
Now more than ever, medical workers are looking for providers who incorporate wellness in the workplace. This doesn’t include simply addressing your employees’ fitness goals.
“In today’s competitive industries, a wellness program within a company is a big, potential differentiator for your employees,” says Peter Egyed, Owner of CrossFit Fury in Goodyear, Arizona. Fury has offered corporate wellness for the past 10 years and has worked with the local police department on its tactical fitness.
It’s not just about smoking cessation programs and battling the bulge. This year, American individuals and businesses (including medical providers) will spend billions dealing with Type 2 Diabetes which is avoidable and curable through nutrition and exercise. “The American Diabetes Association released new research on March 22, 2018, estimating the total costs of diagnosed diabetes have risen to $327 billion in 2017 from $245 billion in 2012, when the cost was last examined,” Diabetes.org.
“We have seen that medical practices who embrace a culture of health, wellness and fitness have happier, more engaged employees with lower healthcare costs. Additionally, our corporate wellness programs focus on team building and unity, contributing to a more effective workforce,” notes Egyed.
Attract the Best and Brightest Medical Workers Through Health Packages and workplace wellness
Today’s top wellness programs include a personalized approach based on an individual’s goals and interests.
“Wellness goals and career development can be combined to create a more positive work environment and successful employees. This idea of collective well-being will not only help support a healthy workforce but will increase a company’s reputation of caring for its employees. Wellness initiatives will begin to include aspects such as learning and development classes, employee recognition and workplace design. For companies looking to increase recruitment and retention efforts, shifting a focus to include collective well-being will help keep current employees happy as well as attract new talent,” Forbes.
Glassdoor has a great list of the top U.S. medical companies offering health packages. From paid parental leave to generous vacation packages, you should check out the list.
The Cost of Absenteeism
High-performing medical team = Strong financial results. Stressed, depressed, and sedentary workers rack up record sick days.
Canadian researchers compared obese employees in terms of costs to businesses. These workers are absent from work as much as 13 times more than employees who are not overweight. Statistically, the obese incur nearly 7 times more in costs through medical claims.
Absenteeism doesn’t just affect productivity, unhealthy medical workers can cause you to lose patients, as well.
Three years ago, the US Centers for Disease Control estimated absenteeism. The cost to employers averages $1,685 per employee in productivity losses. How? Companies find calling in other employees for training and overtime costs to cover absent workers costs big bucks.
“It is clear that employers can achieve significant cost savings if they can reduce their absenteeism by improving employee health and well-being at work. The fewer sick and injured employees you have making insurance claims, the lower your healthcare costs, including insurance premiums,” Entrepreneur.com.
While absenteeism is a problem… so is “presenteeism”. This happens when medical employees show up for work but are not able to fully focus on the task at hand. It’s not easy to track. Check out one study, in Perspectives: Culture of Health and Financial Well-Being from Willis Towers Watson. It shows presenteeism can cost up to 11 days of productivity per employee each year.
Using Sick Days for Preventative Care
Preventing illness is much easier than curing illness… and a lot cheaper.
Egyed says, “We have found our most successful companies share the cost with their team so that everyone is bought in. We have seen companies provide physical training during the lunch hour, during the last half hour of shift, or as after-work deals. The most successful companies also have leaders who are ‘bought in’ to the program and participate with their workforce. In terms of building relationships, there is no better equalizer between a CEO and an intern than gym clothes and the share of a tough workout.”
Flu shots, cholesterol checks, mammograms. Preventative care saves companies money. But, how many sick days are you willing to offer?
“Overall, researchers found a 26 to 85 percent increase in preventive health care use among those with at least 10 or more paid sick leave days compared to those with zero to two paid sick leave days. For the female-focused preventive services, they showed a 55 percent increase in the use of preventive mammography,” Sciencedaily.com.
Medical employees who take advantage of sick days for preventative care bring benefits to the workplace. They may be less likely to bring illnesses, like the flu, to work with them. Being in the medical industry, most of us have more accessibility to preventative care. Take advantage of it and apply the Oxygen Mask Rule to your medical teams before they can assist others with their care.