June 15, 2017
A healthy bottom line
A healthy workplace can reduce costs.
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations
Denis FlanaganAs business owners, Landscape Ontario members spend a great deal of time looking at financial statements, sales figures, projections, etc. Some business owners may not realize it’s also a good idea to review how employees can have an enormous impact on your bottom line.

I recently attended an event at Silverthorne Landscape Supplies in the London area that featured presentations by several suppliers to the green profession. The final presentation of the day featured an interesting seminar by Jennifer Roy from the Healthy Employer — an expert in developing healthy work environments.

According to Jennifer, there are many factors that can impact your business. Research studies have revealed that implementing a workplace health promotion program can save $500 to $700 a year per employee in the form of decreased turnover and absenteeism. In fact, you could see a $4 to $8 return on your investment for every dollar spent on health programs and a decrease in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) rates.

Lost productivity
Employees average 7.5 absent days per year, plus they take an additional 1.5 personal days. But perhaps a more startling fact concerns ‘presenteeism,’ a compromised state that reduces productivity. This term refers to an employee who is present at work, but experiencing symptoms of illness (mental, emotional or physical) or thinking about something other than the job they are doing. The cost in presenteeism is 7.5 times more than being absent — particularly due to safety issues.

So what is the solution? According to Jennifer Roy, creating a culture that values employee health and promotes a healthy work environment will reduce human resources and overhead costs. Healthy employees result in a healthy business. A well thought out program should evolve with employee input and cover the factors listed below.

Smoking: Each smoker can cost your organization $1,900 a year in absenteeism. Develop a plan that works for all employees and departments.

Healthy eating: It is impossible to be a safe worker when someone is not healthy. A health-conscious employer can offer customized programs that discuss the rationale and benefits of physical activity and healthy eating.
Stress management: A stressed employee can cost your company $10,000. This amount increases 46 per cent when you factor in treatment and wages. According to Statistics Canada, depression could be the leading cause of disability by 2020.

Gender health issues: Recognizing, testing and developing prevention programs for gender-specific issues that can occur at different stages in an employees life will help to improve your bottom line.

Sun protection: Awareness of sun protection is very important to the health and lives of our employees. Our skin is our body’s largest organ. It protects organs inside the body from injury, infection, heat and ultraviolet light from the sun. Our skin helps control body temperature and gets rid of waste materials through sweat glands. It also produces vitamin D and stores water and fat. Be smart about sun exposure.

I found the seminar very informative and engaging. If you would like more information, or are considering developing a healthier workplace in 2017, please contact Jennifer Roy at 519-471-3159.
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.