Keeping resolutions can be difficult. Whatever the reason – whether lack of motivation, busyness, or too many obstacles in the way – many Americans will make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8 percent will keep and achieve their goal. 1
A recent Aflac survey revealed workers’ anticipated resolutions for 2013. 2 With health and wellness top of mind for your employees, here are a few simple ways you can help your workers to have a happy, healthy, and successful 2013–and for your business to have improved productivity and lower absenteeism. Resolution #1: Be more physically active
Regular exercise is an effective way for workers and their families to control their weight, combat chronic health conditions, improve their mood, sleep better and have more energy. 3
Especially as workers age, exercise is a key indicator of health. 4
The many health benefits of exercise are important for work productivity, job satisfaction and reducing absenteeism. 5 These bottom-line benefits provide incentive for businesses to offer on-site health facilities, gym membership discounts, fitness programs and other programs that encourage physical activity. Whether your budget is large or small, encouraging workers to include physical activity into their daily routine or to increase their level of physical activity will show workers that you care about their health and well-being – a key indicator of employee job satisfaction.
Nearly 7-in-10 employees (69%) who believe that one of their employer’s top objectives is to care for its employees are also very or extremely satisfied with their job. 6
Resolution #2: Save more money
While still low, the percent of consumers who say they are better off financially this year reached a five year high in October 2012. 7
Still, many do not have a sufficient safety net to protect themselves in the event of the unexpected. 6
Individuals are especially unprepared when it comes to savings for retirement. When asked if they are well prepared for retirement, nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) say they somewhat or strongly disagree. 6
And many are expecting to retire later than ever before. 8
Not only is a safety net important for worker health and wellbeing, but financial wellness is positively associated with worker productivity and health. 7
Businesses can play a significant role in educating workers about savings options and providing resources that help employees make better financial choices. A few examples include:
- Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA): These programs help workers save on out-of pocket expenses associated with health care and dependent care.
- Financial education: Programs like these help employees to boost total savings, as well participation in available benefits and savings programs. (Examples include: 401(k) and retirement savings, tax-preparation, budgeting and investing.
- Supplemental insurance policies: Help to provide an extra layer of financial protection for employees, without adding to your overall cost of benefits.
Half (51%) said they have less than $1000 to pay for an unexpected accident or injury, and of those one-quarter (28%) would only be able to pay $500. 6
Resolution #3: Take better care of my health
To help workers meet their goals to eat a healthier diet, stop smoking, drink less or get more sleep, your businesses can help motivate and encourage healthy living by providing benefit programs, such as:
- Incentive programs: Encourage workers to make healthy lifestyle choices with premium discounts, or other rewards programs.
- Employee assistance programs (EAP): Offer employees the opportunity to get counseling, financial resources, and resources and assistance with managing every day challenges.
- Smoking cessation assistance programs: Encourage tobacco users to quit, provide resources for workers and their families, and encourage workers to reduce their exposure to second-hand smoke.
If their employer offered options to improve their health and lifestyle, more than 3-in-10 workers (35%) would be happy if it meant lower premiums if they changed their habits. 6
Resolution #4: Be less stressed
American workers are stressed. In fact, over 60 percent say “stressed out” describes them at least 50 percent of the time. 6
Workers can take personal steps to reduce stress, such as curbing caffeine intake, and getting plenty of rest and exercise. Employers can help workers to achieve their goal by offering flexible scheduling, workforce training, and encouraging managers to look for ways to optimize the match between the worker and their strengths and interests.
Americans who spend more time using there strengths, are less likely to report feeling stressed. 6
Resolution #5: Have better work/life balance
While achieving a balance between work and life looks different for every employee, an imbalance shows itself in a variety of the same symptoms: increased errors, lower productivity and lower job satisfaction. When employees experience stress at home, balance can be especially difficult. More than 2-in-5 workers say a personal issue has impacted their ability to get work done – impacting their productivity, their ability to concentrate and to be at work on-time. 6
Work-life balance impacts not only the employee and their families, but also bottom-line results for your business. Practical steps you can take to help your workers balance their personal and work life include:
- Modeling balance from the top.
- Offering on-the-job training to help managers to spot burn out.
- Encouraging flexibility when possible.
More than 2-in-5 workers say a personal issue has impacted their ability to get work done- impacting their ability to concentrate, productivity and staying at work or getting to work on time. 6
|2013 Workforce Wish List The Aflac report also found key insights for what workers wish for their employer and the country in the New Year. 2 |
||In 2013, I wish my employer would…
||In 2013, I wish the country would…|
||Increase my salary
||Create more jobs|
||Improve work-life balance
||Reduce the deficit|
||Weed out poor performing employees
||Improve our school system|
||Create opportunities for advancement
||Continue to advance health care reform|
||Offer more benefits
1 University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology (2012) New Year’s Resolutions Statistics, accessed on December 13, 2012, from http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
2 Aflac 2012 Omnibus Report.
3 Mayo Clinic (2012). 7 benefits of regular physical activity, accessed December 13, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676
4 Mendes, E. and McGeeney K. (2012). In Old Age, Exercise More Closely Tied to Health Than Diet. Gallup Wellbeing, accessed December 13, 2012, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/155075/Old-Age-Exercise-Closely-Tied-Health-Diet.aspx
5 Daley, A.J and Gaynor P. (2011). Good health – Is it worth it? Mood states, physical well-being, job satisfaction and absenteeism in members and non-members of a British corporate health and fitness club. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
6 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report, a study conducted by Research Now on behalf of Aflac, January 24–February 23, 2012
7 Saad, L. (2012) More Americans Feel Better Off Than Worse Off, Financially. Gallup Wellbeing, accessed December 12, 2012, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/158387/americans-feel-better-off-worse-off-financially.aspx
8 Jones, J.M (2012). Expected Retirement Age in U.S. Up to 67. Gallup Economy, accessed December 13, 2012, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/154178/Expected-Retirement-Age.aspx
9 Braunstein and Welch (2002). Financial Literacy: An Overview of Practice, Research, and Policy, Federal Reserve Bulletin, accessed on December 12, 2012, from http://www.personalfinancefoundation.org/research/fle/An-Overview-of-Practice-Research-and-Policy.html
10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Accessed on October 19, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/implementation/topics/tobacco-use.html.
11 American Psychology Association (2012) APA Survey Finds Feeling Valued at Work Linked to Well-Being and Performance, accessed on December 13, 2012, from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/03/well-being.aspx
12 Asplund, J. (2012). When Americans Use Their Strengths More, They Stress Less, Gallup Wellbeing, accessed on December 13, 2012, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/157679/americans-strengths-stress-less.aspx