GEHFM is an international and national observance of health and fitness in the workplace and its mission is to make “healthy the norm” by generating a persistent demand for healthy living among all sectors of society. GEHFM promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through workforce health promotion activities and environments. This initiative is held in May of each year which is traditionally employee health and fitness month. To accomplish this goal, the National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF) (www.physicalfitness.org) are enlisting and equipping people and places to build and sustain healthy communities and worksites. NAHF is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals in the world and was founded in l979 by the President’s Council on Sports and Fitness. The United States Chamber of Commerce states: “It is disturbing that few health promotion programs are available to employers/employees.” GEHFM stands ready to fill this void
Participating employers will challenge their employees to create Healthy Moments, form Healthy Groups and develop a Culminating Project. Participants will be able to register and log these activities on the GEHFM website throughout the month, allowing employers and employees to track, share and promote their individual and group activities. Worksite health promotion is a sound business strategy and joining the GEHFM movement this May (and every May) is the best place to start or rededicate your organization’s efforts to the imperative cause of health becoming the norm in our world!
Healthy Moments are focused on the individual, and are occasions of healthy eating, physical activity or personal/environmental health. Examples of Healthy Moments include: trying a new recipe, cooking dinner at home instead of eating out; planting an extra row in a backyard garden to harvest and share with a local food pantry; scheduling a health assessment; going to a doctor.
Healthy Groups are small groups of employees formed to create a sustainable activity continuing even beyond the month of May. Creating lunchtime exercise groups who meet during mealtimes to walk, run, or bike; forming commuter groups who bike or walk to and from work together; establishing healthy meal clubs that share recipes and distribute healthy snacks to each other throughout the day. Healthy Moments occur daily, even multiple times a day and are created by individuals and groups at the start of GEHFM. Healthy Groups implement activities to be performed several times throughout the month.
The Culminating Project is an event or series of events that promote health through the whole company or community. This project could include support for a healthy workforce in the
Company’s vision or mission statement. Other examples include: planting a community garden; adopting a company-wide physical activity or tobacco cessation polity; facilitating “brown bag lunches” open to the community during which a program emphasizing health and fitness is presented; creating a company or family fitness event. The Culminating Project is developed during GEHFM and executed at the end of May each year. GEHFM is a powerful, thoughtful initiative.
THE TOOL KIT helps guide activities and events.
Consider the following:
Findings from 56 studies of worksite health promotion programs showed an average:
27% reduction in sick leave absenteeism
26% reduction in healthcare costs
32% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management cost claims
$5.81 – to – $1.00 ROI ratio.
The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center (HMRC) estimates that organizations save $350 annually when a low-risk employee remains low risk compared to a savings of $153 when a high-risk employee’s health risks are reduced.
Jumbo and large employers led the way in self-insuring their populations and now most
Employers with more than 1,000 employees do so. The majority of employers with more than 200 employees now self-insure. When an employer self-insures, the company owns the “health-risk” of its population. Large and jumbo employers (5,000+ employees) list in their top 3 wellness objectives to include “increased physical activity/exercise.” Effective prevention, wellness and improvement of the health of its workforce will result in a company keeping more “money in its pockets” by paying less in claims. “The current and future spending on employee health is not only unsustainable, but also poses a significant threat to the overall competitiveness of businesses within the global marketplace” states Robert J. Gould of the Partnership for Prevention
Worksite wellness programs play an important role in fostering a sense of belonging, trust, caring and mutual understanding in the workplace as well as supporting a shared vision by being responsive to new initiatives and organizational challenges. Wellness programs also encourage a positive outlook by emphasizing strengths over weaknesses and investing in productive people.
GEHFM has adaptability to any wellness program currently in place or can breathe new life into an existing wellness program or ignite interest in starting a new program at your workplace.
GEHFM can be a basis for creating sustainable healthy programs environments and polities. Involving the community in your organization’s wellness efforts is not just about doing the right thing, it also offers direct benefits because as a conscious organization, you are set apart from other organizations. It goes both ways: money, time and energy can be saved by tapping into your community’s existing resources. Rather than re-create the wheel, look to members of your community for expertise on wellness topics.
Compelling research points to green exercise, defined as exercising in the presence of nature, as a promising and practical way to cultivate a more physically active workforce. Green exercise combines the mental and physical benefits of being active with the psychological and physical rewards of exposure to natural environments – a synergy that adds up to healthier, happier employees with a dose of stress reduction.
We must be more creative in our “best practices” approach to the survivor mentality of today’s workforce. The needs of today’s workers have changed dramatically as a result of the chaos in the world. We must satisfy these new needs with surprises in workplace wellness that will help them with their daily struggles. You are invited to let GEHFM be a part of this solution.