Published January 30, 2014

Prioritizing wellness in the workplace

Working people often have difficulty finding time to fit fitness into their daily routines, especially shift workers and desk workers, who can spend as much as 55 to 75 percent of their workday sitting.  Unfortunately, inactive or sedentary lifestyles can negatively impact an individual’s long-term wellness and their productivity.  In fact, studies have shown that being inactive for consecutive hours each day can significantly increase one’s risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even a shorter life expectancy.

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS), it’s our duty to ensure that the workers we cover are as healthy and productive as they can be.  That is why, when organized labor, employers, or individual workers choose Blue Cross and Blue Shield as their healthcare partner, we are committed to helping them keep well.

With the right knowledge and tools, improving health and fitness can be easy for even the busiest workers.  During the 59th Annual International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) Employee Benefits Conference held in Las Vegas, the BCBS National Labor Office (NLO) sponsored a wellness booth to demonstrate to workers and employers just how easy, and fun, adopting a healthy lifestyle can be. 

Do you know how long you can hold a plank or how many pushups you can do in a minute?  Both of these moves measure fitness levels and can be done in small spaces like offices and living rooms.  NLO wellness booth visitors learned these and other small-space exercises and stretches through daily demonstrations conducted by an onsite fitness expert.  Visitors received yoga mats, workout bands, and relaxation CDs so they could take what they learned at the booth and integrate it into their daily routines.

“Workers who don’t make wellness a priority can acquire costly and preventable health conditions,” said Bonnie Summers, Executive Director of the BCBS National Labor Office.  “We wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is to incorporate healthy activities into an individual’s daily routine and to emphasize to unions and employers how important it is to encourage personal and worksite wellness, not only to improve workers’ health and productivity, but also to lower overall healthcare costs.”

The NLO wellness booth is just one of the many ways the Blues are helping workers and employers understand the value of wellness and its connection to long-term health and healthcare costs.  Blue Plans across the country are assisting union and employer partners in incorporating wellness incentives into their health plans and developing worksite wellness programs that empower workers  to make healthy choices at work and at home.  Blue Plans also offer tools including wellness coaching, smoking cessation programs, preventative screenings and much more.

Fostering a healthy environment at work helps promote healthy behaviors at home and in the community.  Learn more about these programs from your local Blue Plan, or by following the NLO on Twitter and BCBS on Facebook and Twitter, for regular health tips and wellness information.

It’s never too late to make healthy a habit.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.