It’s not surprising, really. When the economy is bad, people grow more fearful and anxious. Drinking and smoking are easy antidotes.
But in the long-term, they make us more susceptible to illness and disease. So does the stress that comes with economic fear.
Apparently the topic hit home with the folks in Killeen, Texas, near Fort Hood, according to a newspaper article.
“Some companies are cutting hours, so people are looking for extra jobs,” Jerry Haisler, director of the Central Texas Workforce Center in Killeen and board chairman of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, is quoted in the Killian Daily Herald News. “We don't suffer the problems of really stricken areas where people really act aggressive toward officials and toward each other trying to protect themselves. But we still have worries over how to pay for Christmas and over dwindling savings."
What can Wellness Professionals do?
I'm delighted that I was quoted in the same Killian Daily Herald News article, explaining what I think companies can do.
I advocate "establishing comprehensive corporate wellness programs to increase employees' awareness of their own behavior, to show them that the company knows and cares, and to head off problems of increased health care costs and diminished health and efficiency that will remain after the recession is over," as the article summarized.
"I believe companies that have paid attention to this now will be in better competitive positions once the economy turns around."
In other words, it's an important time to focus on employee wellness--not only for the good of employees, but for the health of the company too.