Becoming the new workplace norm
Workplace health and wellness programmes are well on their way to becoming a workplace norm. Every type of company – from small start-ups to large multinationals – are now offering wellness programmes as a part of their overall employee benefits package. Traditionally, workplaces concentrated their resources for workplace health on physical or safety benefits. Today though, the need for initiatives focused around mental health in the workplace is becoming vital. Research shows that promoting workplace wellness benefits such as physical and mental health has significant benefits for both employers and employees, some of which we have explored below.
When employees are healthier, costs associated with healthcare are dramatically reduced saving both the employee and employer money. Often employees directly contribute to the cost of their employer healthcare plans through premium payments, or indirectly through coinsurance’s. In one study, total healthcare spending at companies with an employee wellness programme experienced slower growth than companies without a programme. Employees’ health improved through the reduction in chronic disease risk factors saving hundreds of dollars in health care costs per employee annually.
Research demonstrates a clear link between physical activity and improved cognitive function, memory, and focus. It has been found that employees who participated in wellness programmes saved their employer more than $350 annually in productivity costs compared to non-participants.
Employee wellness programmes that encourage physical activity can improve the overall health and well-being of the workforce. Promoting physical activity in the workplace can encourage employees to be more active, reduce their risk factors for chronic diseases, and improve their mood and overall happiness.
Companies with wellness programmes have the opportunity to engage employees in group activities. Such activities will give employees a sense of feeling connected to the company and each other. A workplace wellness programme engages employees throughout the company and allows employees to develop relationships outside of their immediate work circle and expand their social network.
Sense of accomplishment
Many workplace wellness programmes include competitive elements. Activity, weight loss, and healthy eating challenges are all common wellness initiatives that involve employees tracking their progress and comparing it to others. Setting targets associated with these competitions gives employees goals to work towards and provides a sense of satisfaction and achievement when they meet them.
The workplace can be a great forum for learning, changing, and enforcing habits. Providing things like fitness classes and healthy eating options encourages employees to make healthy choices throughout the workday. Having the opportunity to make healthy decisions combined with being surrounded by like-minded peers makes it easier to develop long-lasting healthy routines and behaviours.
Stress management is a key part of overall health and wellness. Stressful situations and a lack of stress management make employees more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours. Workplace wellness activities like walking meetings, mindfulness breaks, and fitness classes can provide employees with a healthy outlet for stress during the workday. A good introduction to areas like this can be covered in a workplace wellness workshop too.
Healthcare costs are a major factor for many companies and workplace wellness programmes have a proven ability to reduce these. A structured and engaging wellness programme can yield many tangible and intangible benefits and is the right investment for the health of employees as well as the business’s bottom line.