Heart Health: Seven Ways To Help Employees Control Their Blood Pressure
By Terri Dougherty
An individualís blood pressure is a personal issue, but there are workplace repercussions when itís persistently higher than it should be.
High blood pressure brings a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. These conditions have an impact on a businessís bottom line when they lead to costly treatments and hospitalization, as well as lost productivity when employees miss work because of poor health.
There are steps a business can take to help employees reduce their risk for high blood pressure and keep it under control. To help your workers avoid the negative impacts of high blood pressure:
- Remove financial barriers for medication. Offer a health plan that reduces or eliminates out-of-pocket costs for medications that help control high blood pressure. Also, select a plan that covers medication thatís available in a format that encourages people to take it as directed, such as once a day.
- Make monitoring easy. Provide home blood pressure monitors and training to employees with high blood pressure. Give them access to support from health care professionals when they have questions or concerns about the readings.
- Encourage physical activity. Make workplace stairways attractive, create walking trails, and display signage encouraging activity. Provide an onsite exercise facility and group activity programs or offer a discount at offsite ones. In addition, provide access to virtual fitness classes for remote employees.
- Support good eating habits. Offer healthy food and drink options in the cafeteria and vending machines. Promote healthy choices and offer a price incentive. Provide virtual programs that offer nutritional education.
- Have a no smoking or vaping policy. Going smokefree allows workers to avoid the negative impact of secondhand smoke. It also supports those who are giving up smoking and vaping, and provides those who smoke with an incentive to quit. For those looking to quit, provide access to free resources and support for quitting.
- Implement a flexible work policy. Giving workers some control over their work schedule gives them more opportunities for physical activity. It can also ease stress, which can contribute to high blood pressure. In addition, a flexible schedule makes it convenient for employees to schedule medical appointments or blood pressure checkups during the day.
- Support good health in your community. Take part in community initiatives that promote a healthy lifestyle. Promote safe biking and walking trails as well as programs that make fresh fruits and vegetables affordable and accessible.