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Why Businesses Need To Be Proactive, Not Reactive with Healthcare

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In 2020 the working practises of all industries shifted because of Covid-19. In some cases for the better, in some cases throwing the methods of work into complete chaos.

A lot has been written about our working habits — home vs the office and fixed hours vs a more flexible approach as examples — but one area that hasn’t been discussed in any great depth is the way that health support is provided to staff while they navigate challenging times.

The big issue with packaged healthcare provision is that it tends to be reactive rather than proactive. That is to say employers offer employees a bolt-on health-related perk that gives them access to a doctor when they get sick, or an app to symptom-check and help to cover the cost of treatment. In many cases the perk is never used by many members of staff. But those services won’t cut-it in the post-covid world, and it is now a business imperative to help employees stay well, rather than fix them when they become unwell.

The pandemic brought to light that people with a reasonable degree of health and fitness, or people who took precautions to keep themselves safe and well, would likely fare a little better when coronavirus struck them than those with a low baseline level of health. That’s not to say that only ‘unhealthy’ people have suffered, but there has been much feedback from GPs and ICU teams which highlighted that many intubated patients had underlying health concerns, but also in many cases a low level of general health awareness and fitness-levels.

Health inequality is a huge issue and one that employers must take more seriously if they are to fare better in future pandemics. It might seem obvious to state that economically deprived communities of the country got hit harder because of a lower level of wellness than the more affluent postcodes next-door. But have we also considered that those divides will be present within your workforce? As such a different type of health support is required than the one you provide. Ask yourself if you know who the most vulnerable members of your staff are? Do you even have the right to know? Or does helping your entire team, from top to bottom, stay well make a lot more sense moving forward?

Most of us can agree that keeping active and making healthy decisions in our daily lives contributes to our overall sense of energy, productivity and happiness. But there are people who work for you that will feel like they cannot afford to factor in those decisions, and they can often be the most at risk. Proactivity is fundamentally a state of mind that helps us to become more conscious and in tune with our health and our bodies. But when you have a slew of other more pressing stresses, like how to pay the rent or feed the family, pay back debt, or support an elderly relative, it’s not that easy to find the headspace people need to be proactive.

So what can businesses do to start to shift the model and mindset of staff to a different type of care? One focused on cause (proactive), not condition (reactive)?

For starters, employers should be looking to work with companies who provide life-support for their staff, not [just] healthcare-related products. By giving staff access to services that help them think in greater depth about the food they consume and the level of physical activity they undertake, you can help them make better, more-informed choices that positively affect both their physical and mental health — which ironically will also help them cope better with the stresses that lead to poor health in the long-term.

Reactive healthcare providers:

  • Waits for an illness to occur before being accessed,
  • Delivers an intervention for the employee who gets ill,
  • Is the most costly form of healthcare for the company.

Proactive healthcare:

  • Is implemented before illness occurs,
  • Provides employees with support, prevention tools and techniques to maintain a positive level of health all the time,
  • Delivers the best health outcome for the employee and employer,
  • Is the least costly form of healthcare for the employer, providing a strong return on investment.

Proactive healthcare services will also apply consumer innovations like wearables, mobile apps and Ai to enable early detection of risk factors and engage your staff by giving them the tools they need to make lifestyle changes, reducing their risk of chronic illness. If all they offer is a button to click that gets them a GP appointment, please reconsider your choice, you might find they mask the true issues present.

What type of care do you offer your team? If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your employees to stay well, and find support when they become unwell, you can visit the business section of our website. If you’d like to speak to one of our relationship managers about opportunities to bring Vala into your workplace, please get in touch, and we’ll get back to you to discuss options.

Further Reading

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