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Employee Wellness Starts at Home

Posted, by Kate Balboni
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Corporate health & wellness programs focus on supporting employees in their attempts to reach health goals or to live a healthier lifestyle, but the majority of efforts are spent on improving the lives of employees during their workday and in the workplace: healthy lunch options, bike commutes, office gyms, etc. But companies are starting to look beyond the workplace to employee homes and the role that a healthy, hazard free home plays in their overall health and wellness. With most employees spending more than half of their lives in their homes, encouraging them to create and maintain healthy living spaces is becoming a hot topic.

Nearly 6 million households have moderate to severe home health and safety hazards. Focusing on alleviating the ailments and injuries that can originate at home, such as asthma and lead paint poisoning, can have the same healthy impact that those workplace initiatives do: preventing lost productivity, lowering absenteeism, and helping to keep healthcare costs down.

Providing the Right Education and Rewards

Some companies are leading the way in education on healthy homes and healthy living, and corporate health and wellness programs can tap into this knowledge base. Not only can corporations provide valuable information to their employees about healthy homes, but they can also include healthy brands in their reward programs to further encourage bringing healthy habits into the home.

The Home Depot® is one such leader with their “healthy home” initiative. The home improvement brand provides both the education and products to support healthy habits in the home. By adding gift cards from The Home Depot to your health and wellness program, you offer recipients a gift that aligns with the healthy home message.



Check out 5 ways to make sure your home is healthier

Home.png1. Healthy & Hazard Free Home

A healthy home can be described as dry, clean, ventilated, free of pests and contaminants, well maintained, and safe. Nearly half of all illnesses can be traced to indoor pollution. Ordinary household products often cause this pollution. Reducing toxins by using environmentally preferred cleaners and reducing household waste could help you create a healthier home environment.

Air Filter.png2. Clean Air

Poor indoor air quality is one of the top 5 hazards to human health. The health effects from poor indoor air quality can impact health immediately or even years after exposure. Phthalates, Fragrance (perfume) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), are just a few of the compounds that negatively affect air quality and increase emissions. According to the EPA, levels of organic pollutants were up to 5 times higher inside the home than outside. Using paints that are free of VOCs and fragrance-free or natural fragrance products can reduce the amount of chemical exposure for you and your family.

Light bulbs.png3. Energy Efficiency

The average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills. In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced Energy Star as a voluntary labeling program designed to promote energy efficient appliances. Today major appliances like home electronics and even lighting are labeled with the Energy Star logo. These products have saved consumers and businesses over $360 billion on utility bills and annually save the average home $760 on energy bills.

shower head.png6. Conserving Water

The EPA’s WaterSense program helps consumers save water by  labeling products that use water in the home, yard, and business. The WaterSense program estimates that around 30% of residential water use is from outdoor watering – approximately 9 billion gallons per day. By educating the public about good water practices (like landscaping with plants that thrive naturally in your climate conditions) and more efficient sprinkler systems, we can save water, while still enjoying and maintaining beautiful landscapes.

Grass.png5. Sustainable Forestry

The idea behind this skillfully managed program is to replace all trees that are cut down with seedlings that eventually grow into mature trees within the same forest. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was created to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forest. Many of the world’s largest retailers have adopted sustainable forestry. As a result, North American forests have grown by 18 million acres since 1990.

Want to check your home's health rating? Take the Home Efficiency Audit to find ways to reduce your energy bills, protect the environment and your home a comfortable place to live.

Topics: Workplace Health & Wellness, General Health & Wellness

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