It pays companies to have a wellbeing strategy. Looking after the health and wellbeing of employees will ultimately help the health of the company.
From Employee Assistance Programmes (see below) to help employees in crisis, to Group Health Cash Plans to motivate people on a day-to-day basis, the possibilities are broad.
What is Workplace Wellness?
Workplace wellness refers to the education and activities that a worksite may do to promote healthy lifestyles for employees and their families. Examples of wellness initiatives include such things as health education classes, subsidised use of fitness facilities, internal policies that promote healthy behaviour, and any other activities, policies or environmental changes that affect the health of employees.
Why Workplace Wellness?
It affects your company’s bottom line in many ways. Namely, workplace wellness can help control costs, increase productivity, reduce workplace accidents and staff turnover, decrease absenteeism and raise employee morale. Because employees spend many of their waking hours at work, the workplace is an ideal setting to address health and wellness issues.
Wellness programmes help control private medical insurance costs. For organisations that offer private medical insurance, health care costs are a significant portion of a company’s budget, so strategically targeting this expense can significantly benefit an employer’s bottom line. An investment in your employees’ health may lower costs or slow the cost increases. Employees with more health risk factors, including being overweight, smoking and having diabetes, cost more to insure and pay more for health care than people with fewer risk factors.
Healthier employees are more productive. Research shows that workplaces with wellness programmes have employees who are more productive at work.
Healthier employees miss less work. Healthier employees mean fewer sick days, which is another benefit companies generally achieve through wellness programmes. Plus, employees’ healthier behaviour may translate into better family choices, so employees may also miss less work caring for ill family members. Reduced absenteeism can create significant cost savings and return on your wellness investment.
Wellness programmes can reduce employers’ liability costs. Employees who make healthy changes and lower health risk factors often have a lower chance of a workplace injury or illness or a disability. In both cases, this can save the employer money, not just on insurance, but also the replacement cost of recruiting and training a new worker to replace one out of work for health reasons.
Wellness can create higher morale and improve recruiting. A company that cares about its employees’ health is often seen as a better place to work and wellness programmes can attract top talent in a competitive market. In addition, expressing a commitment to your employees’ health can improve employee morale and strengthen retention. Employees can experience many potential benefits after joining a wellness programme, including:
- Increased well-being, self-image and self-esteem
- Improved coping skills with stress or other health factors
- Reduced risk for developing chronic or life threatening conditions
- Easier access to health improvement programmes and convenience can increase motivation to improve health
- Improved overall health
- Access to needed social support, as co-workers strive towards healthier lifestyles as well
- Improved job satisfactions
- Safer and more productive work environment
Employees who experience these positive changes and benefits will often feel more loyalty to the company and grateful for the company’s commitment to their health.
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