Health insurance costs for small companies have risen 50 percent in the last decade, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. You can save money and prevent absenteeism by helping employees improve their well-being. Here are research-backed ideas from Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabadi, assistant professor of public health and director of the public health program at the University of Evansville in Indiana.
1. Get moving
How: Walking meetings, standing desks, longer lunch breaks for exercise
Why: Improved blood circulation, decreased fatigue, improved alertness
2. Step on it
How: Free or discounted pedometers, office walking competition
Why: People who wear pedometers walk about a mile farther each day, according to Harvard Medical School.
3. Kick butts
How: Financial incentives. Employees who received up to $800 were nearly three times more likely to quit smoking, according to a University of Pennsylvania and CVS study.
Why: Employing a smoker can cost $4,000 to $6,000 annually.