It’s “Know Your Numbers” week in the UK. Businesses and organisations are using this time to raise awareness for high blood pressure and offer screenings to employees. They’re also working to educate people about the lifestyle changes that can lead to lower blood pressure along with other health benefits.

We are seeing the need to know your numbers in the UAE, too. A 2019 survey revealed how 23% of UAE residents reported high blood pressure. As many as 71% of residents reported having at least one risk factor for heart disease. The real problem is that many people are still unaware that high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and many other issues can very often be classified as lifestyle diseases.

These lifestyle diseases are not only a burden on the health care system and your company’s health care costs, they’re also needlessly damaging to the quality of life of your employees.

Here are some things your company can do to help educate your employees and support them in making lifestyle changes.

 

Offer free screenings

You can use awareness events like your own Know Your Numbers Week to promote free blood pressure screenings in the workplace. Take the opportunity to educate your employees about what they can do to lower their blood pressure or keep their blood pressure within the normal range.

Many people still believe they have no control over lifestyle diseases. This is your opportunity to help them take responsibility for and power over their own health.

 

Bring in an expert

Treat your employees to free education during office hours. Consider bringing in an expert on nutrition, exercise or other health matters.

Your company’s healthcare costs will benefit from your employees taking responsibility for their own health and wellness. Little changes like proper hydration or small dietary tweaks can go a long way towards promoting healthier lives and lower expenses.

 

Address stress

Stress can play a major role in blood pressure. Few would argue that the past two years haven’t been extremely stressful. Maintaining work-life-health balances is challenging enough under normal circumstances. The addition of pandemic-related fear, working from home and struggling with isolation has only worsened that stress.

Start by acknowledging the stress that your employees are going through. Give them information on the long-term impacts of stress on their health. And then invite them to discuss possible ways of alleviating that stress—not just once, but on a regular basis. Providing opportunities for your employees to switch off and destress is a great way to support them in taking care of themselves.

 

Weekly walking hour

At least once a week, start a group walking initiative. Invite all employees to take an hour outside and walk together. Regular exercise has been associated with lower blood pressure. It’s also a great community-building activity.

If your company doesn’t already have a track or trail around the outside of the building, consider having one paved. Enable your employees to take regular walking breaks in the most convenient way possible.

 

Provide snacks

Food is directly connected to more than health. It’s also connected to emotions. Not only will providing healthy snacks in the workplace encourage better eating habits, it will also bring up morale.

Everyone loves being surprised by a treat. And showing you care by supporting wellness through healthy eating is good for company culture.

If your company has a cafeteria, consider doing an overhaul of the dietary offerings, swapping in healthy options where possible. Make bottled water free of charge. If there are vending machines, try to provide more nutritious offerings.

 

Offer a “Quit Smoking” programme

Smoking has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, among a variety of other illnesses. Consider offering a program to help your workplace employees quit smoking.

Make sure the workplace is a smoke-free environment to de-incentivise smoking. You can also subsidise employees who are actively trying to quit by paying or partially paying for aids such as nicotine patches or therapy.

Your company will more than make up for the costs of these programs in the savings in terms of healthcare costs and time lost due to “smoking breaks” for those employees.

Preventing illness is far more cost-effective than treating it. Promoting lifestyle changes in the workplace is a worthy investment of time and money. Ensure your employees are receiving the best possible support by inviting them to talk about what they need from you in order to live their healthiest lives.

Could your company benefit from a holistic and sustainable well-being program? Yes, but you don’t have the resources to organise and maintain it? Contact us. We work with small to mid-sized companies to fill in the gaps in your forward-looking programmes while staying within your organisation’s budget.