That means if you have 1,000 employees it’s $5,400,000! The cost includes lowered productivity as well as sick days and long term disability.
There is no way to get this cost down to zero or to eliminate all sickness. But if you could cut it down by 20% that’s still over a million dollars saved per year. This is doable and we’ll explain why and how. And that’s only looking at reducing the negative side of things. What happens when people have increased wellness, are more buoyant, and working together to build a healthier community? Gains that are not even part of the $5400 cost calculation happen.
It is recognized that the leading source of illness, driving up our health care costs is poor lifestyle choices. Choices —things we are choosing to do such as eat too much sugar, fat, salt, get too little sleep, not move enough — this is what is causing many of our problems. All sorts of good, well-intentioned advice comes at us telling us to change these habits. What’s wrong in this picture? For one, the habits don’t feel like choices to the people who are isolated in the struggle with these issues. It pits that person against the “good” society that is telling them to change. They feel they are right on the edge of understanding how something is missing in the picture, how somehow they are not included in the simple equation that says they should choose better habits. The unconscious mind, past traumas, and manipulative advertising by the food, tobacco and alcohol industries are part of what determine our “choices.”
New ways to make choices on a different level than the one where we struggle with a habit, or with feeling isolated or deficient in terms of the good advice, opens up the ability to change. Making the choice of health a community and buddy system type approach, instead of an isolated secret struggle, is another solution we present. Finally, some customs of our culture that tend to spread colds, flus and disease can be readily changed by any team that signs onto wanting results.