November 29, 2016
Why Zocdoc and Other Forward-Thinking Companies are Giving Their Teams an “Unsick” Day
Here at Zocdoc, we live and breathe healthcare access. We created our platform with the goal of using technology to simplify the healthcare experience, so patients can easily access the care they need and deserve. As an extension of this mission, we’ve also prioritized offering great healthcare benefits to our team members. So, we were shocked when we recently learned that only one-third of our employees were going to the doctor for their preventive care.
It brought into sharp focus a fact that many of us know: There’s a serious cultural conflict between work and health that prevents people from being their healthiest and most productive selves.
Today, working Americans rarely leave their desks to have lunch, let alone to visit the doctor for important check-ups. According to a new survey Zocdoc conducted in partnership with Kelton Global, three out of five (60%) employed Americans feel uncomfortable leaving work for preventive care appointments, with the majority citing their employer or company culture for making them feel that way. The result? Nearly nine in ten (86%) admit they would cancel or reschedule an appointment due to workplace pressures.
This conflict isn’t just bad for employees’ health, it’s bad for business. According to one estimate, “presenteeism”—or employees performing below full productivity because they go to work sick—costs employers $160 billion per year, more than twice the estimated cost of absenteeism due to illness. And companies are spending millions on providing health benefits, which are being vastly underutilized.
To break down this pervasive cultural norm and create a healthier workforce, we introduced a new initiative for 2017 called Unsick Day. Unsick Day is a new type of day off from work—without penalty, and with explicit permission and encouragement—for employees to take care of the important healthcare appointments that are easy to put off, like physicals and teeth cleanings.
Alongside founding partners including Oscar, Handy, Buffer, Foursquare and others, we’re calling on companies to join us to empower every working American to take the time to go to the doctor before they get sick. When employers encourage their teams to get the care they need, everybody wins. In fact, nearly half of employed Americans are more likely to choose or stay with a company that offers time off for preventive care. And the CDC reports that if every American received the recommended clinical preventive care, we could save more than 100,000 lives every year.
Unsick Day is an important step in helping employers become more active in making preventive care a priority in their workplace. With thousands of Unsick Days already granted to employees in 2017, we’re inviting other forward-thinking companies to take a stand for their team’s health. Employers and employees can visit www.unsickday.com to join us in making work-health balance the new workplace norm.
Joaquin Gamboa is the Chief People Officer and Head of New Business at Zocdoc, bringing with him nearly 20 years of domestic and international experience working with technology-focused businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies.