A share from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce
With health benefit costs projected to surpass an average of $10,000 per employee next year, it’s more important than ever for Illinois employers to address the health of their workforce.
Obese workers alone cost U.S. companies billions of dollars each year – a number that’s sure to continue trending upward unless employers begin to hold themselves and their employees accountable to wellness goals.
It’s hard to remain competitive when your employees miss more days of work, and require more expensive prescriptions and medical procedures, than organizations with healthy workers.
Poor health affects productivity in a myriad of other ways. An employee who is experiencing chronic disease or other ongoing medical problems, for instance, can understandably become distracted and disengaged at work as a result.
To combat this downward spiral, employers need to better utilize one of the best tools they have at their disposal – employee wellness.
Programs like Live Healthy Illinois, the Illinois Chamber-led workplace wellness initiative, are effective because they encourage employees to take ownership of their health.
Wellness programs – which can incorporate everything from lunchtime walking programs to free health screenings and fitness coaching – help to cut health care costs, as well as boost productivity, morale and company loyalty.
In fact, studies show that every dollar spent on workplace wellness generates a return on investment of up to $3.
An Efficient Solution for Employers
For companies looking to make their first foray into workplace wellness, or supplement an existing effort, Live Healthy Illinois offers an easy and affordable way to promote healthy habits among employees.
The program is built around a 100-day exercise and weight loss challenge that uses competition between teams to promote physical activity and improved dietary habits.
Once a company registers its employees, Live Healthy Illinois virtually runs itself. Each week, participants log their weight or the number of minutes they have exercised on www.livehealthyillinois.org. The website takes care of the rest, tracking their progress and offering motivational messages, healthy recipes and more.
A company can have a single team of 2-10 participants, or multiple teams, for the cost of only $20 per participant. Those teams then compete with others from across the state by comparing their progress on the Live Healthy site.
Delivering Real Results
Live Healthy Illinois has proven very effective in helping employers promote wellness in the workplace. At Memorial Health System in Springfield, 758 employees exercised for more than 14,000 hours and lost nearly 3,000 pounds during the 2011 Live Healthy Illinois Challenge.
In McLean County, 185 teams of employees exercises for nearly 50,000 hours and lost more than 4,000 pounds – two tons – overall.
In the last two years, Live Healthy Illinois has helped thousands employees across the state find the motivation to exercise, choose healthy foods and make real, sustainable changes to their lifestyles and company cultures.
The upcoming Live Healthy Illinois 100-day Challenge kicks off one month from today on January 23, 2012 and I encourage all our state’s employers to participate and make a down payment toward the future health of their workers and their businesses.
Don’t forget to register for a free informational webinar hosted by Live Healthy Illinois this Friday, January 6 at 10 am. To register for the webinar, please click HERE. If your company, local chamber or organization is interested in learning more about Live Healthy Illinois and accessing any of our Live Healthy Illinois toolkits, please contact Laura Minzer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 522-5512, ext. 240.
For more information on Live Healthy Illinois, you can also visit www.livehealthyillinois.org.