February is the federally-designated American Heart Month. I know, I know, last month I wrote on how January was National Hot Tea Month, too. And while that was a fun blog to write, this one is a little more serious.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women and men in the U.S. CVD includes anything from heart disease to stroke and high blood pressure. Everyone reading this blog probably knows someone who has suffered from a heart-related issue. Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, wrote a blog for the Huffington Post where she noted that heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in the U.S. This is not simply a vending industry-related issue, it’s an ‘everyone’ issue.
Are your employees prepared when it comes to someone having heart problems in the office? Would your employees know how to react if someone had a heart-related issue either on their route or in the office/warehouse? How about when it comes to taking care of themselves?
All offices should be encouraging their employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and here are several questions office managers should ask themselves to ensure their employees are healthy-conscious in their lives:
- Does your office have an AED machine?
First of all, every person working in your office should know what an AED is and how to use one. An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator that automatically diagnoses heart arrhythmias. I’m sure you’ve seen an AED machine at the gym or the airport before, and when it comes to your business, your office should be equipped with one as well. According to the American Heart Association, AEDs can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000. Sign yourself and your employees up for AED and CPR training; it could save a life.
- Does your office have a wellness program?
Hear me out. I don't mean you should put all "healthy" products in your machine at work, nor do I mean you should place only "healthy" products in your customers' machines. A wellness program doesn’t have to mean that you give your employees a few hours off to go workout in the middle of the day. You can use an incentive program for your employees based on a points system that can be redeemed for overtime pay, extra hours of vacation or a gift certificate. The point system allows employees to compete with themselves, not each other. Points can be awarded for walking/bicycling to work, walking during a lunch break or sitting on a yoga ball at work rather than a chair. Not only will this encourage your employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle at work, but it will also show them that you care about their well-being inside and outside of the office.
- Do your employees know American Heart Month exists?
Better yet, do they know when it is? Even just raising awareness to your employees can get the wheels turning. Perhaps your company could enter the philanthropic realm and raise money for the American Heart Association or another heart-related organization. Consumers love when companies are involved in and donate to non-profit organizations and this type of philanthropic donation would not only raise CVD awareness to your employees, but it will also show your customers that you care.