Skip to content

Your Job May Be Killing You And Your Bottom Line: Helping employees beat stress related illness



The old saying “my job is killing me” may really be true. New studies featured by Harvard Business School in “The Relationship Between Workplace Stressors and Mortality and Health Costs in the United States” by Joel Goh, show stress at work is responsible for about $190 billion in healthcare costs in the United States.*

Every single year, there are at least 450 million days of missed work for full-time workers. The result? Lost revenue, to the tune of billions, and increased stress for workers and business owners, who all suffer under the weight of the sickening side-effects of stress induced illness in the workplace. Issues such as high-blood pressure, mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism, and other stress created illnesses plague the American workplace.

Today, many companies are taking their first steps to solve the health and wellness issues of their employees by jumping onto the fitness and wellness bandwagon. With the cost of sick workers hurting the bottom line of big and small companies alike, it’s no wonder that new wellness and health programs are popping up like daisies. Unfortunately, in many cases company leadership is not equipped with the tools necessary to encourage their populations to embrace these stress-buster fitness and wellness programs. The management teams in place in many U.S. firms also do something much worse, by heaping on measurement tools and wellness platforms that lack the most important ingredient; engaging content to help employees make lasting change in their lives. The desire for measuring impact has overshadowed the need for fundamentally engaging content based upon basic behavioral change principles to help beleaguered workers start a wellness habit and stick to it. New stress management, nutrition, and effective workout approaches that make it easier for employees to fit healthy choices into their busy lives are essential.

[Read More: Stress Management in the Workplace]

It takes more than a cookie-cutter approach to health programs in the workplace to actually get workers to embrace -and enjoy - the benefits of regular exercise and wellness programs such as yoga and meditation. Just look at the pitiful statistics of how very few people with gym memberships actually go to the gym - 67 percent of people with gym memberships never go to their gym **, and 80 percent just drop out within 5 months of joining.***

Technology offers the perfect solution for our sick and stressed out workforce. The proliferation of connected devices, along with Video on Demand, provides the newest, most practical way for people to work out and practice wellness on-the-go.

I founded Grokker to offer fitness, yoga, and meditation via convenient, 24/7 instant access online and through Video on Demand channels. But a key element in the success of our high def, expert lead programs is the way we encourage everyone to become engaged in our culture of wellness. Some of the most successful companies in the world, who offer Grokker to their employees, don’t just hand over the log-in credentials for their employees’ membership and walk away. Instead, these cutting-edge leaders offer inspiration and perks to their workers, by being great role models and also engaging their populations with exciting challenges. Here are some tips to help your business build a fitness and wellness program that works - from some of the most successful companies in the world.

Challenge Your Team

Grokker created a program that included a kick off Challenge for employees of Linux. All employees who signed up for the challenge received $50 each toward the purchase of a yoga mat, hand weights, or resistance bands. Who doesn't love a better home gym set up? The results were stunning: 92% employee participation right off the bat.

Turn Employees into Winners

Pinterest, another cutting edge employer, implemented a different successful - idea.

Pinterest created a competition where the first 100 employees to sign up would earn a $50 gift certificate towards a fitness accessory of their choice.

"By offering the incentive of $50 for those registering first, we drove engagement and inspired the competitive spirit. Employees were pleasantly surprised to be "winners" and it helped kick off their own Wellness needs. By choosing any item of their choice, there simply is no excuse to not participate!" (Pinterest Quote, Amy Jennison)

Add a Little Healthy Competition

One executive at Lithium knew that in order to have her teams’ hearts pumping she needed to get their competitive juices flowing.

To do that, she launched Grokker along with an intra-company Grokker team challenge. The challenge rewarded team members with prizes for watching 3 videos a week for the first month. It didn't matter if it was a fitness video, a yoga video, a guided meditation video or even a cooking video. Each employee was able select the topics that interested them and met their personal goals - and they needed to remain consistent over the month.

"Launching a challenge alongside registration not only helped increase our registration numbers, but it also drove on-going engagement by keeping employees engaged and excited. Plus -- who wouldn't want a brand new FitBit as a prize for winning?!" (Lithium Quote, Andrea Puljiz)

Link Participation with Your Health Reimbursement Program

Bundling wellness activities into your health reimbursement plans encourages employees with a clear reward. What’s more, connecting reimbursement with healthy activity can help to simplify and bolster employee communications around health and wellness in order to drive increased participation.

DCL Logistics elected to make signing up for Grokker one step toward qualifying for their HRA. DCL logistics knew that by linking the two, they would encourage employees to find the content on Grokker that best met their health goals and earn reimbursement dollars.

Your job doesn’t need to be a killer and by taking advantage of today’s cutting edge tools that help employees stay fit on the go you let your employees find an easy way to live happier, healthier lives. At the same time, this work will foster a culture of wellness in the workplace.


Joel Goh, Harvard Business School assistant professor of business administration in the Technology and Operations Management unit, in his new published paper, “The Relationship Between Workplace Stressors and Mortality and Health Costs in the United States” (co-authored by Stanford business professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefanos A. Zenios).





Caring For Remote Employees

Many organizations continue to work in remote and hybrid models as the pandemic winds down, but many employees, when given the option to return to work, would actually prefer to continue working remotely. Our new guide, Taking Care of Remote Employees: The Key To Business Success Beyond the Pandemic, gives you actionable steps to ensure that your employees feel supported no matter where they are working. 

Download your guide