According to the 2017 Health and Safety Executive report, “37% of all work-related sickness is due to stress, including anxiety and depression.” Employees are a business’s greatest asset, so if they are suffering so is your business. That being said, it is obvious that a meaningful investment in those assets will translate into the business’s success. What can be more important, meaningful, and impactful than healthy and happy employees? That brings us to the topic of wellness.
Wellness is a relatively new trend in workplace culture that has been growing in importance over the past decade.Over the last few years, increasing awareness on the need for workplace wellness has caused more than 70% of companies to include wellness programs in their company.
Why should employers have a stake in employee wellness? Because the costs to business of absenteeism and stress are considerable; and the benefits of attracting and retaining talent, and improving productivity, are clear. Consequently, how employees are feeling, both mentally and physically, is more than an HR issue.
It is, in fact, a fundamental foundation for business growth, stability, strength and sustainability.A number of recent studies show that truly successful wellness programs, if implemented right, can increase an employee’s physical activity by 50%, decrease medical costs and absenteeism by 17%, and improve employee engagement by 59%, on average.
This past year has been extremely challenging for everyone around the world. Getting back to work was a challenge on its own for many people. Employees have appreciated the flexibility working from home provided for their lifestyle. Workplaces now have to be flexible to accommodate for this mindset shift.
The pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of the office. With employees slowly returning to their workplace, many employers understand the importance of wellness. Businesses are becoming increasingly more mindful of creating a safe, healthy, and motivating environment for their most valuable assets.
For any organization to understand the importance of employee wellness and properly engage with it, it must first understand what wellness means.
Wellness covers both physical and mental fitness. Over the past 30 years, it has grown as an important concept in the workplace, focusing on helping employees influence their own health, quality of life, mental wellbeing and, consequently, their performance at work.
According to Harvard Business Review, Corporate Wellness is defined as
…an organized, employer-sponsored program that is designed to support employees (and, sometimes, their families) as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.
Employee wellness programs can look different at different companies and that is a good thing. Wellness should be tailored and made relevant to your employees—not the other way around. There is no one size fits all for wellness programs.
Offering corporate wellness programs used to consist of health fairs, lunch and learn meetings, special discounts to health clubs and perhaps a wellness handbook. But over the years, corporate wellness has become far more sophisticated. There is really no “right way” to do a wellness program and no one size fits all when it comes to designing a wellness program. Wellness does not mean the same thing to a twenty-six-year-old as it does to someone forty-eight years old with three chronic conditions and several medications.
Employee well-being cannot thrive without a supportive culture. Why? Because a company’s culture sets the foundation for employee health, happiness, and success. While a company might have a workplace wellness program in place, if they do not have a supportive corporate culture, many employees will not utilize the program or benefit from it. This will make the program useless, and employees discouraged.
When it comes to employee wellness, the personal impacts on the corporate, as well as vice versa. The business or organization should be building a strategy around helping individual employees to identify and meet their own wellness goals. At the same time, this feeds into an overarching business strategy concerned with staff engagement, retention, and performance.
Half of organizations in a recent Gartner survey reported that at least 81% of their employees are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Another 15% of those surveyed said that 61% to 80% of their employees are working remotely in current conditions.
Develop a Culture of Wellness
A culture of wellness is a workplace environment that helps employees practice healthy behaviors in the office. Employers can create and maintain a strong culture by: Offering healthy nutritional choices, encouraging physical activity and offering on-site employee fitness classes. Employees who are less stressed improve company performance, according to studies.
For a company to embrace employee wellness, it has to embrace change as well. A company culture that is resistant to change will not help employees grow and take on new challenges. Leaders should not be afraid to try something different every now and then. Change can be hard, but a successful shift in company culture could lead to happier and healthier employees.
Support Time Off
Time off should be encouraged and taken advantage of by employees. Vacation time should be completely away from work, not lingering around the computer waiting on a few emails. Employees who take regular breaks throughout the workday and take advantage of their PTO are generally less stressed and happier with their overall work-life balance. Set these boundaries with employees to allow them to destress. They will return to work refreshed and ready to contribute to company success.
Give Employees the Opportunity to be Healthy
It is difficult for employees to practice healthy behaviors. Employees may feel like they do not have the time to do so outside of work. This means giving employees the opportunity to exercise during the workday, providing a lunch or healthy snacks, and offering on-site wellness services. For example, Tezahn is a great healthy drink infusion to offer employees as a treat in the break room or a gift sent to their house!
People are craving connection, collaboration, camaraderie, and the social dynamics of the office environment now more than ever. Many companies have continued to stay remote, others are offering flexible days in and out of office, and even some are bringing teams back to the office full-time. The variety of working environments reinforces the fact that each company will need to have a program that is unique to their employees needs.
Having preventative measures in place not only focuses on employees that have chronic health conditions but can reinforce healthy behavior and habits. These wellness initiatives can be used beyond the pandemic as well to encourage healthy living for life. It can also be really critical to reinforcing company culture at a time when there is a lot of stress and uncertainty.
Workplace wellness is synonymous with high performance, high retention rates and high revenue. Applying a few simple holistic strategies can better vitality and help give the workplace a huge energy boost. The bottom line is that it is essential to build a company culture that supports and promotes employee well-being.
Without a supportive culture and environment, employees will not believe that their health and happiness is a company priority. If this hasn’t been emphasized enough, employee satisfaction is a very important component for company success. They also will not be nearly as likely to take advantage of their workplace wellness program.
Leaders should focus on creating a corporate culture and wellness program that complement one another to make employee wellness more engaging, exciting, and part of employees’ day-to-day life. These are key tactics to skyrocket workplace wellness. Create a better tomorrow, for every individual and for the company as a whole, by prioritizing workplace wellness!
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