June 9, 2010
No time for a physical? Get one on your coffee break
The postcard my physician sent in April reminding me it's time for my annual exam is burning hole in my kitchen table. I keep telling myself I'll schedule the appointment next week, but next week never comes. Either I'm too buried under deadlines to make the time to call or I'm anticipating being too buried under deadlines to take 90 minutes out of the workday to get my heart, lungs, and all the rest checked. (No need to tell me this is stupid. I know.)
[Photo by diekatran]
As you can imagine, I became a bit envious upon hearing about employers offering their staff mini-physicals on their coffee break. Slipping away from your desk for a free blood pressure or blood sugar check sounds infinitely easier (not to mention cheaper) than scheduling an hour-long exam with your primary care physician.
Sure, a 15-minute physical with a health care provider you've never met before is no substitute for a thorough check-up with a trusted physician you've been seeing for years. But if you haven't been able to make it to your GP to suss out why you're not sleeping through the night or why you haven't been able to breathe through your left nostril since 1989, a quick coffee break physical is better than none at all, right?
This is part of the rationale for Loyola University's Occupational Health Services offering companies such 15-minute physicals. The other part? The fact that sick employees cost companies money in absenteeism, presenteeism, lost productivity, and higher health insurance premiums, not to mention the growing notion that investing in employee health is not only smart business, but a morale booster.
So what does the coffee break physical look like? According to Loyola's Occupational Health Services, these the 15-minute exams consist of "basic screening tests and symptom surveys to identify employee health risks" -- in other words, checks for problems like insomnia, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
"Workplace wellness does not require an extraordinary corporate investment," says Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of Loyola University's Occupational Health Services. "Still, these wellness programs show people that management is committed to their well-being."
What do you think? Would a coffee break physical at the office be a welcome perk for you? Or would you rather your employer spend their precious dollars on something else, like better coffee or a nicer breakroom?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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