It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week. Everyone knows that handwashing is key to prevent the spread of germs. This is especially important in the workplace. The Workforce Institute reports that workplace absenteeism rates range from five to ten percent. This means that at any point in time up to one out of 10 employees is missing from work due to illness.
On Sunday, golfer Danny Willet of England earned his first Masters win at Augusta National. It was a great day for Willet, whose wife had given birth to the couple’s first child just twelve days before.
The marketplace is flooded with articles, books and even phone apps trying to solve the question of what makes people happy. While happiness may seem like an esoteric concept, its origins are now being broken down to a science. Similarly, when it comes to employee engagement, figuring out what it takes to create a work place where employees are happy (and therefore more productive) has become a scientific pursuit of trying to find the right solutions. However, research shows that even with all the time, effort and dollars companies have spent to address employee engagement, the overall rates of employee satisfaction and happiness are still less than desirable.
Innovation. It’s one of those buzzy business words you hear in commercials for cars or even vacuum cleaners or perhaps read in full-page ads printed in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. But what does it really mean to innovate in 2015?
In the past several decades, there has been a dramatic demographic shift in the workforce. Not only do women now make up almost half of the workforce, but there are more pregnant workers than ever before and they are working later into their pregnancies. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, holding a job during pregnancy is more common than at any other time in history. In a recent survey, 61 percent of respondents reported being employed during pregnancy. More families depend on women’s income than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, women are the primary or sole breadwinners in nearly 40 percent of families with children.
Strong businesses need healthy engaged employees. The average person spends more time at work than in any other daily activity and for many of us, that means eight plus hours spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer, on the phone and in meetings. While rising healthcare costs are certainly a driving factor in the equation, companies are realizing that employee health and well-being is central to their employees’ engagement, productivity, performance and overall quality of life. Since these are all factors that affect the bottom line, it only makes sense for organizations to create an environment and foster a culture that is more focused on the health and well-being of employees.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic pulmonary conditions are becoming a huge economic burden in the U.S. Earlier onset of chronic disease and its development in more working-aged adults has caused a decline in the overall health and quality of life of employees, resulting in days away from work and subpar job performance. Adding to the burden is the cost of treating chronic disease—estimated to account for about 75% of national healthcare expenditures.
One of the essential qualities of any strong leader is the ability to continually look forward and ask the question: What’s next? The truth of the matter is that these days building a successful business is so much more than strategy and operational savvy; it’s now also about cultivating an environment where employees can thrive.
With most of the country in a deep freeze this winter – a day off from work or school due to inclement weather may mean sleeping in late, playing in the snow or enjoying a warm drink by the fireplace. However with an abundance of communication tools and technology, a snow day might mean you checking email or holding a conference call in the kitchen as you watch neighborhood kids build snowmen or your significant other clear the driveway. For those of you without electricity, it may mean making your way to a local coffee shop with power and WIFI to work on a major project.