While more employers are beginning to put greater emphasis on the health of their workers through workplace wellness initiatives such as reduced or no-cost gym memberships, there also other health factors that contribute to the well-being of employers. The idea is that by placing a greater focus on improving physical activity, stress reduction and other health indicators among employees might just improve a company’s bottom line.
To encourage companies to integrate health promotion and wellness into their business strategies, nonprofit group US Healthiest launched HealthLead last week. The program aims to make workplaces healthier and evaluate the sustainability of those efforts. HealthLead is a rating and accreditation system modeled on LEED certification for green buildings.
“As the U.S. Green (Building) Council’s LEED certification sets the standard for sustainable building practices, we expect HealthLead to be widely embraced as the standard for healthy, sustainable workplaces,” said Paul Jarris, APHA member and chair of US Healthiest, an alliance of public health partners that developed the new strategy.
Jarris is also the executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which has already signed on to participate in HealthLead. He hopes ASTHO’s example of serving only healthy foods at meetings and using other proven methods will improve employee health.
While HeathLead’s launch on June 12 was largely introductory, the pilot programs identified glaring problems with what J. Nick Baird, CEO of US Healthiest, calls “wellness pillars.”
Baird says it is clear to those working on the program that productive workers increase the value of a company, which means both workers and CEOs have much to gain from these pillars, or health standards.
Read more about the pilot program in the March 2011 issue of The Nation’s Health, APHA’s newspaper.