Want Increased Productivity? Focus on Healthy Employees

March 5, 2015

You've heard the buzz. Healthy employees increase productivity. But is this true? Various surveys say yes. Here’s a look at the statistics and 7 healthy employee ideas any small business can incorporate to increase productivity.

The Stats - Healthy Employees Increase Productivity

Skeptical that health employees really have an impact on increased productivity? Here’s a look at what recent studies have found.

  • Employees who eat healthy are 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, found one survey.

  • The same survey also found that employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15 percent more likely to have higher job performance.

  • And, healthy employees take fewer sick days. Absenteeism is 27 percent lower for those workers who eat healthy and regularly exercise.

  • Overweight employees cost their employers $73.1 billion a year and file twice the number of workers’ compensation claims.

  • According to a Quantum Workplace report, employees are 14 percent more engaged when provided time off to recharge, 10 percent more engaged when provided healthy food options, 18 percent more engaged when provided time for healthy activities,  and 18 percent more engaged when provided a flexible schedule.

  • Employers have bought in to the idea but struggle to measure the exact impact. According to a Willis survey, 93 percent believe that healthier employees are more productive, yet very few are measuring the impact of productivity on employees’ absenteeism, FMLA, and presenteeism.

  • Healthy employees reduce healthcare costs. According to Willis, 61 percent of employers say employees’ health habits are a top challenge to controlling health-care costs.

  • Actively Disengaged employees are 2.6x more likely to feel anxious at work compared to Highly Engaged employees.

7 Healthy Employee Ideas to Boost Small Business Productivity

As the statistics show, having healthy employees is important to productivity, culture, and cost containment.

As you think about programs to encourage healthy employees, there are four main areas to focus on: stress management, nutrition programs, physical exercise, and health benefits.

These programs sound expensive, but they don’t have to be.

To implement workplace health programs on a small business budget, consider these budget-savvy ideas:

1. Provide employees a health-care allowance for their health, dental, and vision insurance - instead of purchasing an expensive group health insurance plan.

2. Implement a low-cost wellness program.

3. Provide membership discounts to a local gym.

4. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks.

5. Provide paid time off.

6. Encourage (or require) stress-relief breaks, or allow employees to take longer lunch breaks to exercise.

7. Offer exercise classes on-site, led by a team member to lower costs.


Focusing on healthy employees can help your small business be more productive, in turn lowering costs associated with health care, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

What ideas do you have to increase employee healthy and productivity? Leave a comment. 

Looking to give the best small business health benefits?
Check out the qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA).
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