Stress at the workplace is on the rise – a simple Google search for the terms “work” and “stress” together generate more than 500 million results.
Some 83 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed by at least one thing at work, according to a recent U.S. study led by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College.
Jeanette Verhoeven, a life and health specialist at Aon Risk Solutions, believes the Cayman Islands is no exception to work-related illnesses.
Faced with increasing health-care costs, employers are turning to non-medical programs to help reduce insurance premiums. A work-site wellness program focuses on increasing employee health and productivity through education, awareness, healthy lifestyle choices, and workplace support.
Ms Verhoeven is conducting a wellness survey on behalf of Aon to get an understanding of the workplace wellness services available in the Cayman Islands.
“We are hopeful that compiling details and contact information for the many wellness activities going on in Cayman will assist companies with their work-site wellness initiatives to improve their employees’ health and happiness,” said Ms Verhoeven.
While initially meant for her clients, Ms Verhoeven said the survey will also be available as a public resource when it is released.
“If any person or organization in Cayman is interested in finding out information about wellness services, we would be happy for our survey to be an available resource to them. We will present this [information] on a flash drive to the human resources managers of the many employer groups,” Ms Verhoeven said.
The spreadsheet will contain the name of each wellness entity, programs offered, costs, and contact details.
What is work-site wellness?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the role of a workplace wellness provider is to manage the “physical, mental, and emotional well-being of workers.” The CDC also claims that “work-sites have the opportunity to encourage healthy habits and help prevent health problems such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease.”
Having contacted several dozen entities so far, Ms Verhoeven said her “eyes have been opened” to the plethora of wellness resources available to Cayman Islands employers.
“We are excited about the wellness services available locally and would hope to see more use of those services for more coordinated and expansive wellness efforts.
“We know that HR managers have a lot of issues to deal with day-to-day, and may or may not have staff dedicated to such efforts, so my colleague Melissa Maize and I, who both have nursing backgrounds, take pleasure in anything we can do to help promote the employees’ knowledge and health,” said Ms Verhoeven.
She said she has noticed a peak in the wellness industry over the years and as well as exclusive wellness providers, many other services promote workplace wellness, including dieticians, physician clinics, counseling, gyms, overseas hospitals and non-government organizations like the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Cayman Heart Fund.
“Our workbook will hopefully give company managers a compendium of the many tools available to them to share with their staff,” said Ms Verhoeven.
She advises that any local companies interested in improving their wellness conditions to start a “wellness committee” with at least one senior manager. She said a wellness committee is similar to a social committee and should meet monthly to help coordinate and organize wellness activities and initiatives.