Personal health is one of the most crucial topics in the trucking industry.
It’s a tragic irony. Truckers spend their lives moving all over the country, yet have one of the most sedentary careers in the nation. Even people who work at a desk can get up when they need a stretch, or take a walk to shake off the mental and physical rust. Unless truckers want to pull over every hour, it is not an option for drivers.
Over-the-road truckers are susceptible to obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. According to a study conducted by the the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), truckers are twice as likely to be obese and more likely to smoke than the general population.
In the trucking industry, corporate wellness programs are hoping to reverse this trend. Major players in the trucking industry, such as Schneider and J.B. Hunt, have implemented wellness programs in one form or another.
But these are large-scale shipping companies with massive budgets. What can small to medium-sized companies, with fewer resources and less room for error, do when it comes to wellness programs?
Turns out, they can do quite a lot.
First of all, you should understand the benefits of a wellness program for trucking companies, starting with the dollars and cents. We all know that any initiative will cost time and money, but there is strong evidence to suggest that utilizing a wellness program will actually pay off. There are potential insurance discounts for having a company-wide program, and when you have healthier employees, you could see a reduction in your worker compensation costs. Improving safety records and lowering insurance premiums could also enhance your financial stability.
This isn’t just speculation. According to Risk and Insurance, a study from the Colorado School of Public Health suggests that businesses could receive about $2.00 in savings for every dollar invested. That’s a 100 percent return on your investment.
However, the potential ROI for a wellness program is complex and long term. Therefore, it’s not wise to create a wellness program based strictly on finances.
The ultimate reason for implementing a wellness program is not ROI; it’s a stronger company. When you have a fully-functional wellness program, it shows your employees that you want them to be healthy. It shows that you’re invested in their long-term success, both from a career and a physical perspective.
It’s the right thing to do for both you and your company, so if you are ready to take the next step, here’s a few ideas and tips for implementing your wellness program.
With other businesses, one of the most common practices is to purchase exercise gear and create a gym or wellness space for employees. However, in a trucking company, where most of your employees are hundreds of miles away, that is useless.
Instead, a wellness program for truckers should primarily focus on education. Make health classes or training part of the wellness program, and encourage your drivers to participate in the learning process. Make easy-to-remember information available, and accessible to folks who can use it, such as simple tips to stay healthy.
Talk to your drivers about the biggest challenges to a healthy lifestyle and make changes that directly address these challenges. For example, if your drivers tell you that access to healthy food while on the road is nearly impossible, consider purchasing 12-volt refrigerators for semis, allowing your drivers to store healthy options like fruits and vegetables while on the road.
You could consider a rewards program for quitting smoking and starting other healthy habits. A step-counter competition is always a popular way to get employees moving. Rewards can include a half-day of PTO, a gift card (not to a fast food joint) or even a set of small dumbbells. This is a good chance to get creative and create hype.
You must also demonstrate a commitment from your leaders. It’s not enough to merely invest a few hundred dollars; managers, owners and department heads should all lead the way when it comes to your wellness program.
If you create specific wellness goals for your team and monitor the costs, your wellness program can not only create a stronger, more sustainable company, but it can also help you improve the bottom line.
TCI Business Capital is an invoice factoring company serving businesses across the United States. For more information on factoring, call (800) 707-4845 for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote.