How Diabetes Impacts Corporate Wellness and YOUR Bottom Line

by | Feb 11, 2019 | Blog, Dealingwithyourdiabetes, Education | 0 comments

If you own a business, large or small, the wellness of your workforce will likely be impacted by diabetes.  A 2017 Gallup Poll estimated that nearly 12% of the adults in the US have diabetes and those numbers are climbing.  At that rate we are tracking to have over $30 million adults dealing with diabetes every day.

The poll further sites that 6.9% of full time employees and 9.1% of part time employees have diabetes.  These employees call in sick on average about 5 days per year, which adds up to a whopping 58 million unplanned days of missed work.  Using average earnings, the impact is nearly $21 billion dollars each year. The Center for Disease Control‘s numbers for decreased productivity corroborate these findings.  That’s a LOT of money!

Corporate Presenteeism

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Those numbers only reflect days when employees call in sick.  What about when people are physically at work, but not productive?  The term is presenteeism – you are physically present, but your head is not in the game.  We all have experienced times at work when we didn’t sleep well, had a headache, minor cold, minor injury, or maybe even  hung over (be honest – remember your 20s)! Perhaps you were distracted by a hospitalized family member or friend, or trying to coordinate repairs for your washing machine or car.   These distractions happen to everyone and productivity suffers.

The other side of  presenteeism involves employees with more long term issues.  Research shows that pain (such as migraines, low back pain and other musculoskeletal pain), allergies, gastric reflux, depression and yes, diabetes, are some of the most distracting conditions in the workplace.   It makes sense, if you aren’t feeling great, you likely aren’t performing great and productivity takes a hit. Women get a double whammy since these conditions are more common among females and women tend to deal with a larger share of family issues.

The numbers tell the real story.  Presenteeism cost US industry more than 10 times more than absenteeism.  The American Productivity Audit found that lost productive time from health related issues costs businesses more than $225 billion annually!  Those numbers aren’t trivial. Those are big dollars! So it goes to reason that improving corporate wellness will improve your business’s performance and productivity.

Where Healthy Habits Happens

Unfortunately, most of our health living efforts take place before or after work. Times that are already full of household chores, family needs, personal needs and rest.   Healthy lifestyle efforts must compete with getting kids off to school, taking care of grandma, time with your spouse or church activities. Guess what is the first to go???   Tending to health needs – right? Precious free time at home, isn’t really free. It’s actually crammed with all those “living your life” activities that follow a long day at work.

For most workers, the bulk of our day is spent at work.  What if healthy habits happened during work hours that carried over into “real life”.  Maybe people could actually rest and recover in our off hours. It’s a very compelling concept and not as complex as you might expect.  Simple support groups that share struggles and victories, decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness.  For people with diabetes, that address a very large challenge.

Top Wellness Companies Get It

Many companies have found it beneficial to invest in policies and practices that boost morale, creativity and personal accountability.  Things like 45 minute meetings, so you have a 15 minute transition time to make a phone call, take a bio-break , check your blood sugar or just catch your breath.  It also makes the meetings more focused so more gets done all around. Several studies found instituting a 4 day work week decreases stress and depending on the work type, may not decrease productivity.  The hospital system’s weekend alternative programs and 12 hour shifts are very attractive schedules to working parents. Other options focus on group nutrition and exercise plans. New to the scene are mental health modalities such as quiet spaces, meditation time, and support groups.   Conflict management sessions are also great ways to overcome office politics and division of workforce.

Feel Better – Do Better at Work

All of these activities give employees more control over their time management and create an opportunity to fill up their emotional tanks.   When you feel better, you do better. It makes sense to create work spaces that lift employees up, rather than squeezes out every drop it can get.  In an economy where employees have more options, #FeelBetter strategies may be a worthy investment in your workforce!

If  corporate wellness interests you or you have employees struggling with chronic conditions, my group coaching may be just the thing to get you started!  I offer onsite as well as remote video group sessions. Contact me today!





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