Why Should I Care About Disadvantaged Neighborhoods in my Community as an Employer?
Cited by A Report of the Surgeon General
Here are the cold hard facts. It is no secret that employers share the burden of healthcare costs, especially when it comes to chronic diseases. If your employees have these types of conditions, your costs are higher. Also, according to the Surgeon General, you can’t ignore the indirect costs that reduce workforce productivity and contribute to declines in labor force participation. For example, the average full-time worker with diabetes misses an estimated 5.5 workdays per year; unplanned absences for this disease cost U.S. employers $20 billion annually in lost productivity. The indirect costs of diabetes to employers may approach $90 billion per year.
Poor education, unstable housing, and food insecurity affect the health status of workers and their productivity on the job. Workers with less education or income are more likely to have chronic illnesses and complications, higher healthcare costs and more absenteeism and presenteeism, less productivity.
Like economic and social status, geography also plays a role in health. Today’s business leaders must consider the disparate living and health conditions to which their workers return at the end of their workday. The vital conditions in employees’ neighborhoods—from the quality of housing and drinking water to the amount of green space to instances of racial segregation—affect health at the worksite and the cost of healthcare. Different conditions in different neighborhoods mean that two workers at the same company will have different educational and economic opportunities, community supports, health statuses, disease risks, and life expectancies—for themselves and their children.
The bottom line is clear: Businesses have an economic interest in improving the vital conditions in workers’ neighborhoods and in working with community partners to maintain or create an environment that is healthy and safe. The same conditions that shape health are also the features that enable employers to attract and retain talented workers, which in turn help the local economy. Such conditions include good schools, resources for sports and physical activities (e.g., parks, playgrounds), modern, efficient infrastructure (quality affordable housing, broadband Internet access, transportation), and healthy social environments (e.g., lack of segregation and violence). Businesses have powerful incentives to act to improve the vital conditions that shape health.
How will your business step up to make DELCO stronger by helping our neighborhoods get on an equal playing field?
See all the facts, charts and more in the excerpt “Why Does the U.S. Health Disadvantage Matter to Businesses and the Economy?”
Read the entire Surgeon General Report “Community Health and Economic Prosperity Engaging Businesses as Stewards and Stakeholders— A Report of the Surgeon General”
Check out more equity and inclusion news and resources for business owners here.
Leave a Reply.