It is sad but true: not every employer nurtures the wellbeing of its workforce. An increasing number, however, recognise the benefits of a staff who are healthy, happy, active and productive.
Ostensibly a framework whereby employees gain an appreciation for the way in which their everyday choices impact their state of health, a workplace wellness initiative can help to combat stress, reduce obesity and enhance energy levels.
With the UK facing up to worsening obesity levels, such programmes will be integral to turning the tide, as well as reducing instances of diabetes, hypertension and countless other lifestyle-related chronic illnesses.
After all, what we eat and do from Monday to Friday – when most of us spend the morning and afternoon ‘on the clock’ – has a massive bearing on our physical and emotional welfare.
These key benefits should illustrate to sceptical organisations the benefits not only to staff, but to the businesses more generally. This applies, incidentally, to medium and small-sized firms as well as cash-rich corporate entities.
It also applies to worksites as much as offices; a paper published last year in the International Journal of Surgery revealed that adults working in unskilled manual professions are over four times more likely to be morbidly obese, compared with those in professional employment.
Whether blue-collar or white-collar, helping your workforce improve their health behaviours – via compulsory training programmes, motivational seminars and education – is a no-brainer.
3 Key Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programmes
Better Employee Health Status
This may seem self-evident, but the primary benefit of implementing a wellness initiative is, quite clearly, better health outcomes among employees.
A healthier staff not only means less absence through sickness (absenteeism currently costs UK employers £29 billion per annum) but fewer staffers will be prone to lethargy, elevated stress, even depression.
According to a 2014 study, people who exercise three times a week are 19% less likely to be depressed (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/1916903), and according to a separate trial, 75% of employees participating in wellness programmes noted a significant increase in their satisfaction levels.
No wonder fostering healthy habits among personnel is becoming more common!
A well-implemented workplace health protocol helps employees perform better, whatever their occupation. Low productivity is symptomatic of poor health, whether related to nutritional deficiencies, sedentariness, smoking status or some other factor.
One 2012 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22856386) sought to assess on-the-job productivity loss – known as ‘presenteeism’ – caused by ill health. Researchers learned that employees who ate an unhealthy diet were 66% more likely to have high presenteeism than their health-conscious counterparts; smokers were 28% more likely, and those who did not follow an exercise regime 50% more likely.
The take-home? Productivity and health behaviours are inextricably linked.
Greater Staff Retention
Because occupational health programmes are not yet mandatory, organisations who take an active interest in their employees’ welfare are better able to cultivate a loyal labour force.
An employee may be tempted by a new position at a rival company, but if said company does not have a wellness initiative in place, it will give the employee pause. A satisfied personnel is less likely to jump ship, especially if a prospective new employer fails to offer the same perks as the current one.
Wellness infrastructure shows that a company cares; that they are invested in the person – mind, body and spirit – rather than simply what the person can do for them.
It’s easy to see why such programmes improve employee retention; they could also serve as a useful recruitment tool.
To be sure, there are more than three benefits to an employee wellness programme; but if the aforementioned hasn’t convinced you, nothing will. Not the fact that wellness solutions reduce neck and back pain among office workers, not that they can boost morale, improve adaptability and inspire creativity.
In closing, it’s clear that investing in employees’ physical, emotional and social health is mutually beneficial, driving measurable cost savings while nurturing a more pleasant, productive environment.
Of course, the importance of health monitoring and regular health checks more generally should not be overlooked. Looking after yourself is a 24/7 job!
This guest article was provided by Water for Health, an online health store based in Central Scotland but servicing customers throughout the UK and Europe. Founded in 2007, Water for Health is committed to helping people achieve optimal health through sound nutrition, quality hydration and proper pH balance. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.