Should You Be Offering Workers ‘Unsick Days?’

October 21, 2016 Matt Tarpey

Most people’s approach to their health tends to be reactionary – you get sick, you go to the doctor to get it checked out. But why do we wait until something goes wrong? What if we had the option to go to the doctor before we got sick and hopefully avoid getting sick at all.

That’s what Zocdoc is proposing – an Unsick Day.

One of the main reasons people aren’t going to the doctor in advance of illness setting in is work. According to a recent Zocdoc survey, 86 percent of workers say they would cancel or reschedule a booked preventive care appointment due to workplace pressures.

Zocdoc’s Unsick Day is a new kind of day off – one taken with employers’ explicit permission and encouragement, specifically for employees to take care of annual physicals, skin screenings, dental cleanings, and other routine health procedures that are too often neglected.

And it’s not just the workers who are missing out. The survey found that only 1 in 4 workers have utilized all of their preventive health benefits, which means companies are investing in benefits and plans that are going vastly underutilized.

An Unsick Day would change all that – according to the survey, 51 percent of workers said they’d be more likely to take advantage of preventive health benefits if their employer encouraged it. And on top of that, 49 percent say they’re more likely to stay with a company that offers time off for preventive care.

Plus, preventive care leads to healthier, more productive employees. These check-ins help workers detect potential issues early, form stronger relationships with providers and take a more active role in their own long-term health.

Benefits like health care are often looked at as a way to attract candidates, but they’re also great for retention. Workers appreciate when their employers take a continued interest in their happiness and wellbeing – exactly what an Unsick Day would provide.

For other ideas on how to help your employees and improve retention, check out Why and How to Help Employees Manage Their Finances.

 

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