Investing in the health of employees can result in increased productivity and reduced health care costs.

Written by Patrick Flanagan
Photo by Robin May

A once-novel concept in the business world, the general perception of employee wellness is changing, and so is the idea’s marketability.

By screening workers for possible “at-risk” health conditions and training them on how to live healthier, an employer could see increased productivity from workers and a reduction in health care costs, says Elisabeth Arnold, communications director for Our Lady of Lourdes, one of several Lafayette companies looking to improve their bottom line through a healthy workforce.

Lourdes health coach coordinator Maggie Taylor measures the height of
co-worker Criscilla Mire as part of a new program that
offers incentives to workers who make healthier choices.

The idea began gaining traction in 2007, when the national recession decreased profit margins and increased health care costs for businesses. The screenings and training for employees are coupled with incentives for workers who opt to make better decisions when it comes to their health.

Lourdes will conclude a study on the cost benefit of its own program, called Healthy Lives, by November. The preliminary savings for the entire Franciscan system, Arnold says, appear to be in the millions.

You can read more about how employee wellness programs operate and the benefits they are yielding in October’s IND Monthly. The following are a few businesses around town that have implemented some form of workforce health initiative:

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