Welcome to the New Norm: Workplace Fitness May Not Be a Choice!

Who would have thought workplace fitness would become such an essential part of employment? Initially, the focus was on healthcare employees who were strongly urged to lead by example. They were required to get in shape and gain better health or face financial penalties. While many shirked at the thought, it quickly became the norm.

Most healthcare employees have reluctantly accepted to submit personal health information such as body mass index, weight and blood-sugar level in exchange for better health insurance premiums and leaved penalties. Today, this is expanding to other industries as companies introduce new health penalty policies.

This expansion will continue and the penalties will become steeper until the goal of a healthier workforce is achieved. Call it force or call it choice — this may very well work as what it comes down to is employment or unemployment. It’s a no-brainer. So consider yourselves informed.

Attesting to this movement is the article on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, 2013, “Shape Up or Pay Up: Firms Put in New Health Penalties.” In this story, corporate leaders say “they can’t lower healthcare costs without changing workers’ habits.” This feeds into the findings by behavioral economists that “people respond more effectively to potential losses, such as penalties, than expected gain, such as rewards.”

Welcome to the new norm! Your employer will no longer be Mr. Nice Guy. You know what? We have become the targets of our own lifestyle choices. While we can, we have to make smarter choices. Soon, we will be forced to make these choices as this norm is coming to a job near you. Make the choice today, as you will be glad you did!