There are many benefits to maintaining your employees’ health and wellness, from increased efficiency to an overall happier staff. There have been numerous studies linking health to happiness and productivity, so it’s in any company’s interest to establish and maintain a wellness program for its employees. These are a few of the advantages.
Establishing a culture that emphasizes healthy habits at work goes a long way. Whether it’s stocking the cafeteria with healthy options for meals and snacks or providing employees with options at the workplace that encourage healthy habits. Studies have shown that health-conscious employees tend to eat healthier, work out more often, smoke and drink less, and are more prone to take safety measures (like wearing their bike helmets) consistently. A 2015 study found that 5 out of 7 health risks improved after one year of participating in a well-designed wellness program that encouraged healthy lifestyle choices. Give employees the opportunity to take better care of themselves and they’ll be healthier, which will save you money on lost productivity from sick workers taking time off, as well as on benefit coverage.
A healthier employee is a more productive one. Most workplaces have at least one person who starts off great but whose productivity drops off by mid-afternoon as they grow sluggish and nod off in meetings. Others suffer from “presenteeism” – forcing themselves to work while they’re sick and not at their best (not to mention the risk of spreading their illness to other employees). Both problems can be rooted in poor lifestyle choices; a bad diet and lack of exercise will negatively affect energy levels and immunity. Start with the basics, like providing a supportive, stress-free environment with flexible deadlines, along with facilities that promote a healthy lifestyle, enable employees to work harder, be more focused and creative, and ultimately be more invested in the company’s success, along with their own.
Camaraderie and Teamwork
Lack of communication is an issue many workplaces deal with – many times, people in one section of the company don’t know what’s happening in another. Implementing an employee wellness program is a great way to close this gap by having employees from different departments work together on something outside of their usual duties. Companies with fun, competitive wellness-focused initiatives such as challenging employees to give up alcohol for a week or competing to get the most steps on their Fitbit can result in happier workers while also building a sense of community. A bond forms between employees and a sense of collective accomplishment develops when a certain fitness goal is reached. This, in turn fuels a sense of team spirit where employees from different divisions can come together to work towards a common goal: the success of the company.
With multitasking and changing work profiles being the norm in today’s workplace, employees who can seamlessly move from one role to another are very much in demand. A recent Gallup poll revealed that employees who are in tune with what’s happening in the company as a whole (rather than just their own roles) are well-adjusted and more likely to adapt in times of upheaval and change. These employees usually benefit from an effective wellness program that promotes both physical and mental health. Such high-functioning employees are also less prone to stress and are often able to take on new responsibilities with minimal training. They get the job done, leading to a domino effect where their colleagues are also motivated to do the same. Both employer and employee benefit, making it a win-win.
Recruitment and Retention Improve
Company culture is often mentioned as one of the top draws for new talent, as candidates increasingly favour inspiring and invigorating environments. That atmosphere is created by healthy, and, more importantly, happy employees. Many companies offer benefits like free wellness consultations, yoga rooms, gym memberships, massages, and similar services, with the goal of enticing the best talent. When considering joining a company, people often look to current or former employees for information on what the culture is like. This is where a commitment to employee wellbeing makes the difference, both for new hires and existing staff. Nobody wants to be part of a toxic or tense environment, and having a staff that is happy and engaged while at work is a convincing testimonial for potential new hires.
Wellness programs in the workplace indicate to employees that management cares about their health and values their long-term contributions to the company’s overall success. When a business benefits from active, healthy, and engaged employees and solid leadership, everyone wins.
Baisakhi Roy | Contributing Writer