The corporate health responsibility movement received a big boost today (July 20) with the launch of Bay Healthy, an unprecedented regional initiative developed by the Bay Area Council to leverage the strength of the region’s employer community to make a meaningful impact on the health of the Bay Area. From on-site physicians and fitness centers at Silicon Valley’s hottest tech companies to a surge in start-ups developing health-related apps and new biometric technologies measuring wellness, Bay Area businesses are adopting a culture of health
With its Mediterranean climate, boundless outdoor public space, parks and beaches, and ultra trendy farm-to-table food culture, the Bay Area is well known for attracting energized and health-conscious residents. But, it’s not just residents prioritizing personal health in their day-to-day lives. Now, more than ever, health is becoming a business imperative in the region as employers take on the physical and psychological well being of their employees.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, some of the most effective measures companies can take are starting health and wellness initiatives and providing incentives for them. For example, it costs between 10 and 40 cents per member per month to provide comprehensive smoking cessation benefits, versus the average annual cost per tobacco user of $3,400.
“A company’s financial health is only as fit as its workforce,” says Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Dr. Micah Weinberg. “Through employee health and wellness programs, businesses’ bottom lines are benefitting from reduced healthcare costs, as well as lower absenteeism and greater productivity and engagement from their employees. Beyond financial incentives, corporate responsibility around health growing.”
Through its comprehensive online platform, Bay Healthy equips employers with the tools they need to challenge and motivate their employees to pledge One Thing – any small action or behavior related to nutrition, fitness, sleep, gratitude or volunteerism – toward improving their health. The platform also enables businesses to promote and reinforce workplace wellness programs already in place.
“The key is to start small. Sometimes the changes we most desire are the hardest to achieve and balancing a healthy lifestyle can seem incredibly daunting,” says Bay Area Council Healthcare Committee Co-Chair Dr. Kent Bradley. “That’s why the Bay Healthy Challenge is so effective. It helps the individual focus on a single, sustainable change, which often develops into a healthier lifestyle routine.”
Bay Healthy premises that choosing one small behavior at a time enhances the likelihood of longevity for the healthy habit, as incrementally committing to small adjustments in a routine is much easier than attempting a radical lifestyle change. With one small action at its core, Bay Healthy aims to create unparalleled collective action around health in the greater business community.
Bay Healthy was developed in partnership with San Francisco Business Times and is sponsored by Sutter Health, Dignity Health and PwC.