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Peter Bocking

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Each year, there seems to be a growing focus put on health and wellness within the workplace. Much of the success with supporting a healthier workplace for your employees will come from implementing prevention tools and engraining wellness into your corporate culture over time. Below are some supports and ideas that you can pull from to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Wellness & Health Spending Accounts

Wellness and health spending accounts (HSA) go above and beyond what most people think of as a typical benefits plan. These types of accounts still translate into a benefit provided to an employee from their employer, however, it puts the decision in the employee’s hands to spend the pre-determined amount as they see fit (with some guidelines and rules of course).

Health spending accounts have been a popular add-on to a benefits plan as it allows the employee to direct extra funds to a benefit that fits their needs. For example, if your benefits plan covers eye exams, but not glasses or contacts, an employee might choose to cover that added cost with their HSA. It’s important to note that an HSA can be implemented as a standalone offering or layered on top of a more traditional benefits plan. And the funds are tax free to the employee!!

Another spin on this type of account is a wellness spending account. As the name implies, this allotment is to be used on wellness-based items and activities. For example, an employee may use it to cover their gym membership or other fitness classes, while others may use it to purchase a wellness-related item such as a kayak or mountain bike. As with the HSA, there are parameters around what types of items are eligible for claims submission. These dollars are taxable to the employee, but still a very unique offering to as it is money dedicated to improving their overall wellness.

Additional Services To Compliment Your Benefits Plan

Outside of your benefits plan, there are many additional supports that you can offer your employees to promote wellness. One of those supports is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP for short) which offers counselling services for items like mental health, addictions, family/financial troubles, work stress and more. It’s completely confidential and appointments are free of charge to the employee. Stats are showing that the number one cause of long term disability claims is now mental health-related, so an EAP is a great tool to support mental wellness.

Another great tool that has been gaining momentum recently is virtual medical services. Essentially you can see a doctor from your couch. These virtual physicians can discuss any health concerns you have and even send referrals or lab requisitions on your behalf. Pretty cool, right?

Promoting A Healthier Corporate Culture

A workplace that earmarks health and wellness as a part of their corporate culture is another way to promote healthier employees. Often, this isn’t an instantaneous mandate, but a gradual implementation of little initiatives that when layered together begin to shift into a big impact for your team. You can start with simplistic items like shifting your office furniture to ergonomic options, and you can even swap out traditional desks for those that have the option to be placed in a standing mode. This can also evolve into group programs/challenges which work in alignment with your iWatch, Fitbit and other wearable fitness technology. Bringing in a wellness coach to teach/reinforce healthy habits and lead group seminars and fitness classes for your employees has also been gaining popularity in recent years.

Using any one of the tools listed above can truly help your company to get on the road to fostering a workplace dedicated to supporting the health and wellness of their employees. The secret is using it in a preventative method to ensure the highest level of success.

Peter Bocking

Peter worked as a Financial Advisor for a few years before joining HMA 7 years ago. He has grown into the capacity of a true Benefits Consultant in that time, and now proudly owns the firm along with his Business Partner, Barry. They have 19 amazing, specialized staff and they’re growing steadily as the specialists to turn to with over 30 years in the Benefits industry. He is a Group Benefits Associate (GBA) and is working on completing his Compensation Management Specialist (CMS). Peter loves spending time with his family. They give back to the community they live and work in. He is a proud member of Rotary and he is heavily involved with various other charitable and not-for-profit efforts. If you can’t find him around town, he’s probably singin’ a few tunes with guitar in hand.
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