Do you build health with a wellness culture at work or in your business?
Will you help build health during the next five years or wonder how your team’s physical health will deteriorate?
Ask yourself…Are you up to date about the prediabetes epidemic in the US?
It’s imperative to build health at work. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, you likely see or interact with your team 40+ hours each week. This gives you an incredible advantage in helping everyone proactively avoid costly chronic illnesses, like prediabetes. Small self-care changes over time in a positive team setting are very powerful!
There is a quiet health epidemic in America today that impacts millions of Americans and their work. This key health challenge can also impact the bottom line at large and small businesses across the country. This medical reality needs leaders like you to invest in positive health habits on the job…to build health and the bottom line.
Someone is diagnosed with diabetes in the US every 23 seconds.
Before that diagnosis of diabetes happens, millions of Americans are PRE-DIABETIC. Workplaces are key locations for helping people build health as they address their prediabetes and AVOID diabetes in the future. The SHRM website tells us that absence from work due to Type 2 Diabetes (what prediabetes turns into if it’s not attended to) costs employers more than $20 billion annually. Workers with diabetes miss 4-5 more days each year than the average worker. That adds up in your workforce.
Our doctors and health insurance have specific roles in addressing this chronic and growing health problem. Most people diagnosed with diabetes are ushered into a specific treatment and education program at their doctor’s office and it’s likely covered by insurance. That’s good news.
Employers don’t realize that the healthcare process for those with Prediabetes is not the same.
Unfortunately, those diagnosed with Prediabetes do not get the same medical support. After a blood test or series of tests indicate prediabetes, people are told by their doctor to
- drop some weight (without specific instruction about how to do that)
- watch their sugar (without a coach or dietician’s help)
- and come back in six months for another blood draw
During that 6-month window, these same people are left to their own devices…and on your time clock! They’ll be using a portion of their work time thinking about their blood sugar situation. You may have already noticed their focus shift from your business goals to their health problems.
Beyond thinking about their declining health on the job (and at home, too), they may begin seeing the side effects of imbalanced blood sugar.
Eating a diet that’s filled with sugary foods may be part of the problem. Some people eat well and their body still has an imbalance. It’s discriminatory to project stereotypes onto others whom you see struggle with blood sugar imbalance. Each person’s circumstance is unique to them. You may notice some coworkers take more personal days to go to the doctor. You may see others use the office computer to do research or plan the new kind of menus they need to regain their health.
It’s important to everyone’s success that we all admit the Prediabetes epidemic is distracting for responsible adults! And your company is likely filled with responsible adults. A virtual rabbit hole of information about blood sugar can be found online and it’s all very confusing. Discouraged people do not feel highly motivated.
Successful businesses need leadership that guides their entire team toward a clear game plan for self-care. The kind of self-care actions that happen at home and on the job. It is the right thing to do and the financially savvy attitude for you!
What are the Prediabetes Epidemic Numbers?
The CDC reported in 2017 that more than 84 million Americans have prediabetes. This is a condition that if not treated leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. That number has not gone down in the past two years.
“Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the majority don’t know it. Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease.”
How does Prediabetes Impact the Workplace?
The financial impact of Prediabetes turning into Type 2 Diabetes is of course mostly felt by the patient. Likewise, it also includes costs to US businesses large and small.
You may have to replace workers. Your company may see administrative expenses related to covering for absenteeism. And workers on the job may experience reduced energy, productivity, and morale. Do you know of several staff members who have Type 1 Diabetes and need to inject insulin or take medications at work?
By opening your circle of care at work to everyone who is experiencing any diabetes illnesses, your company can have a competitive advantage. Responsible people who are looking for a place to work will love knowing your culture includes preventative health building!
Top Five Ways to Build Health for Employees
1. Offer Access to Health Screenings: Work closely with your insurer and arrange for self-management programs and screenings at work. Ask each employee at their annual review if they need healthy habit support on the job. Remember, the majority of those who are developing prediabetes don’t know it. They may be your most influential team members!
2. Health Education Resources: Everyone needs access to meaningful data. You can offer that science-backed data and keep folks focused on their own work–at work. It’s important to provide multiple ways to absorb new information. Not everyone wants to read science or studies. Could you encourage your team to participate in a prediabetes treatment program?*
3. Partnership with others on the job who share your diagnosis: Privacy regarding health status is important. As a leader on the job, you can help team members share in a way that works for them. As they learn more about prediabetes in your company’s email outreach, they’ll feel empowered. Offer educational tools in your lunchroom or coatroom. Because it helps, get employees up and active during the day. Encourage biking and walking to work! Because of this, you may want to add helpful additions like bike racks and lockers in the bathroom.
4. Lunchroom Tools: Provide access to healthy breakfast items in the lunchroom. Have the means to help a coworker who is experiencing a blood sugar low. Use signage and food vending machines to encourage healthy food choices and activity breaks. Create fun teams within your company to walk for 30 minutes at lunchtime or go to the gym together after work. Lead by example. Set up a blood glucose testing station and a thoughtful place for insulin administering. Consider offering storage for insulin supplies if work conditions do not allow individuals to carry around their medical devices.
5. Expert Lectures: Recruit area experts to offer one 30-minute presentation each quarter. Create a fun atmosphere around the lecture, keeping it short, informative, and engaging. Include an area doctor in your list of experts! Allow them to conduct a 30-minute Q&A session at lunchtime. Pass out t-shirts to everyone who participates.
Leadership on the Job and in your Community
As a prediabetes educator to individuals across the US, I’ve witnessed this health crisis up close. Each of my private coaching clients and online education students has gone on to help others balance their blood sugar. This can happen at your place of work, too! Every person who learns how to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes can become part of the epidemic solution. Our lifestyle choices and health habits truly are that powerful.
*One option is to request access to the online Solution Starter Prediabetes Health Kit. Contact Coach Georgianne at info@GeorgianneHolland.com today. Resources launching in 2020 are downloadable to share with coworkers, family, and friends. This health kit includes a weekly staff email that encourages healthy habits. Let your team know it’s important to you that they prevent chronic lifestyle-created illnesses from flaring up and causing them harm. >> Add your name to the list today!