Hi everyone!

We are pleased to have our Haworth sales representative, Gina Nist, share her thoughts on Rex Miller, Phillip Williams, and Michael O’Neill’s book The Healthy Workplace Nudge. Make sure to order your copy or place a hold at your local library.


Our workplace wellness initiatives aren’t working! We spend $18,000 per employee on health costs and these costs will double before 2030. The Healthy Workplace Nudge works on tackling employee health and disengagement and profiles how 100 large organizations have fixed.

Chapter 1 – A Slow-Moving Storm

The book begins by defining wellness: what it used to mean, what it means now, and how it has transitioned in the workplace. The core of the book is about challenges in the workplace;  looking at the system, ideas and overall habits inside the walls of the workplace. Today we need to understand whats preventing employees from should be happening…doing their job and being happy in the workplace. Dr. Roizen was focused on gathering data and interviewing anyone he could to understand the slow-moving storm of chronic disease that is steadily on the rise.  He speaks to why it’s important for business leaders look at wellness and embrace this on a higher level. This is a time when companies can implement change, programs and reverse the trend of chronic disease.

These five lifestyles are drivers for chronic disease:

  1. Unmanaged Stress
  2. Sedentary lifestyle
  3. Poor eating habits and diet
  4. Drug and alcohol abuse
  5. Smoking

With the rise of healthcare cost expected to double by 2025, business leaders are faced with unhealthy employees and tasked with how to keep costs under control.

Chapter 2 – The Rainbow in the Storm

After the financial crisis of 2007 – 2008, we saw massive shifts in our office cultures and the way we approached space. CBRE Group (a large commercial real estate service and investment firm) lost 92% of their value during the crash but by 2010 showed massive signs of growth! They recovered in a manner that changed their industry and shifted them away from the traditional office space to what is known today as a free address. A free address workspace eliminates private offices, gives employees lockers and drawers to store their stuff, and encourages a flexible seating system.

While we think of workplace wellness as a Millennial trend, wellness has been a concern for a long time. At this time 80% of a company’s overhead is in its people. Think about it! Employees spend at least 40+ hours at work a week, what kind of ROI can be gained by investing in healthier buildings, programs, and workstations?

While reading through this chapter these quotes jumped out at me:

“Leaders have to care, and they can’t care for people they don’t know.”  – Bob Chapman

“It’s easier to spread influence with people you know.” – Dr. Nickolas Christakis

“People feel like wellness programs are done to them, not for them.”  Al Lewis

Imagine what would happen if we put these three ideas into play. The effect of consistently doing these things could have a positive impact and could set the stage for change within your workforce! What do you think the three biggest things your employees would like to see changed? What are the three biggest things you would like to see changed? What changes could you implement that could hit both your employees and the company’s needs?

Chapter 3 – Storm Damage

Living in Central Ohio, the Opioid Crisis hits close to home. Ohio is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. The authors’ interview Dr. Monnan who speaks to the effects of the Opioid Crisis and the shift in how pain has been evaluated in rural areas. Dr. Monnan discusses how pharmaceutical companies have been targetting these areas by putting pain clinics at worksites and by overstating the effectiveness of certain types of pain drugs to patients and their doctors.

It’s easy for us as administrators to brush off the effects of this crisis as an issue that only affects rural areas of our state/country. According to the authors’, here are 5 things all business leaders should consider:

  1. Opioid abuse has jumped 500% in the past 7 years
  2. The price per milligram of morphine-equivalent paid by employees has declined by about 75% in the past 15 years! This is due to more generous health care coverage, more us of the formulary ad most distressingly, more pills per prescription. There is virtually no other product whose use doesn’t increase as the price falls. And there are very few products whose price falls that much.
  3. The $78-billion all-in cost in the United States of opioid use, abuse, and treatment work out to about $756 per employee per year. To put that in perspective, that’s 10 times what you spend on heart attacks and diabetic events.
  4. Worker compensation claims costs are ten times higher when long-acting opioids are involved.
  5. Your ER visit claims coded to opioid issues have probably increased threefold since 2003

Dr. Monnan stated that 15% of your workforce, probably more, are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

A question to ponder: what policies does your company have to assist with help: personal an family struggles?  If you needed the help with either where would you go internally?  How do you get help?  Do you rely on friends and family?  Are you comfortable talking to your boss/leader, and HR?

Chapter 4 – Stress

We’ve known that stress has been identified as the leading driver for work-related chronic health issues for a while now but do you know how stress affects your body? When our bodies are under constant stress cortisol levels elevate and accelerate your heart which then speeds up and releases glucose. As stress pushes forward, if the body isn’t in survival mode there are serious health complications: blood sugar goes out of balance and the brain will instruct the body to hold on to calories.

So why do we focus on wellness when we know the problem is stress? At the beginning of the wellness surge, Dr. Roizen identified that no one saw stress as a factor. However, over time the role of stress began to draw everyone in. I think many of us can relate to this quote: According to Bob Chapman “The person you report to at work is more important to your health than your doctor!

Did you know that there is a 20% increase in heart attacks on Monday mornings? According to Dr. Roizen, the way we treat people at work affects the way they treat their families. His research shows how the work day goes will impact as Americans what will transpire after work. A simple nudge of checking attitudes at the door and leaving the day behind can be very impactful to our loved ones!


Stay tuned for Part 2!

Are you interested in creating a healthier workspace more conducive to productivity, creative thinking and the improvement of office wellbeing? Contact us or browse our past projects to see how we can improve your workspace!