Friday, August 31, 2012

A Woman’s Worth…

These days it seems like businesses are looking to cut costs every chance they get, while also seeking to raise productivity and their bottom line. As we all know, these two don’t usually mesh.

There is one situation however, when the stars align, and productivity and cost-cutting come together – in programs designed to improve the health of female employees, providing benefits not only to them, but to the business as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women are about 60 percent more likely than men to miss work because of illness or injury. BLS also reports that women are more likely to take prescription medications. Therefore, working to get women healthy, and keep them that way, is a business must-do.

So what kind of programs can companies participate in that are easy to implement and help women get healthy? Check out some of the following ideas:

For busy women on the go. Health insurers are now giving employees mobile apps that place health care and insurance information at their fingertips wherever they are, enabling them to make more informed health care decisions in a way that is more convenient for them.

Make managing health care easier. Many insurers offer online resources that help their members manage health care and health care expenses. Some offer online resources and programs that specifically address women’s health, such as UnitedHealthcare’s, which features online seminars, health and nutrition tips, a chat room and several blogs, all dedicated to women’s health issues.

Focus on issues most important to women. Employers should consider programs that address women’s specific health needs, such as healthy pregnancy programs. But, smoking cessation, nutrition and weight loss programs, aimed at overall wellness, can help both women and men alike.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Employers can encourage female employees to get health screenings such as Pap smears and mammograms by giving them time off from work or scheduling flexibility to see their doctor.

Work together for women’s health. While a financial contribution is always helpful, employers can make a more meaningful impact by encouraging employees to volunteer for charitable events or serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations focused on women’s health. A recent report by VolunteerMatch provides compelling evidence that volunteering not only enhances volunteers’ physical and mental health but also strengthens relationships between employers and employees. 

The first step to putting any initiative into place should be to survey your employees to determine what workplace and personal issues might be preventing them from maintaining good health habits.  By focusing on wellness for women in the workforce, a company can strengthen its bottom line as well!
A UnitedHealthcare employee takes advantage of the cafeteria salad bar for a healthy lunch

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