Why Corporate Wellness Matters
to Your Employees and Your Bottom Line
corporate wellness is entering a whole new age
Corporate wellness programs are the kinds of employee benefits you would usually associate with large corporations like Google. However the elements of this type of philosophy are not to be underestimated and can be tailored to any size business regardless of the bottom line.
If employees are given personalised choices, considered choices that suit the company and the employee so that they take advantage of them , these programs can:
– boost productivity and morale
– lower absentee rates due to illness
– save the company some serious money in the long-run
– attract new employees
– retain the ones already employed
Fortunately more and more companies are exploring innovative ways to enthuse and excite their employees, and most importantly, incorporate wellness into their HR strategy.
In the early stage of this thought process, in the 1970s, employee wellness generally was limited to diet plans, gym memberships and smoking cessation programs. These days, the definition has broadened considerably, incorporating the “whole” person – from both physical and mental health to finances, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
This holistic approach to corporate wellness, along with the shift in consumers desiring healthier lifestyles, can manifest in any number of ways:
1. Office Amenities
– Filtered water to encourage drinking two litres a day
– Vending machines with healthier options
– Bring Your Pet to Work Day
– Holding meetings standing up or walking
– “Healthy desk” options (standing desks)
– Encourage lunch hour breaks out of the office or have a dedicated lunch space
2. Fitness programs
– In a large corporation, create a fitness centre – treadmill, meditation room – and shower (preferably with steam) of course
– For smaller businesses, bring a greater emphasis on fitness to the workplace is through fitness challenges and contests – marathons, fitness challenges, healthy eating programs.
– Offer incentives like Fitbit and Garmin, which can track steps, exercise, heart rate, sleep. Encourage employee engagement with various incentives – if they walk a target number of steps a day, for instance.
– Flexibility. It’s been shown that workers who have the latitude to work from home have less stress, increased productivity and company loyalty, and decreased absenteeism. For workers who must juggle family obligations, this can mean the difference between staying with a job and having to search for another. Flex time and telecommuting can also mean less overhead to the corporation, making this a win-win for everyone involved.
– Vacations. Companies who encourage – and even enforce – vacation time are finding that their employees are returning to the office refreshed and ready to dive back into the pressures of the job.
– Mental health. Giving workers access to such wellness programs as mindfulness sessions and meditation provides unique benefits, including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, and increased calm. Studies have shown increased concentration and improved inter-employee relationships after a course of mindfulness programs.
– Financial advice. Addressing the “whole person” can also mean allaying financial concerns. In addition to offering financial education, forward-thinking companies are learning how to use available data to pinpoint specific employee issues so that trained staff can recommend ways to deal with them.
There is little doubt that corporate wellness is entering a whole new age. It is proving to be among the best ways to attract and retain employees, boost morale, improve productivity, increase employee loyalty and satisfaction, and reduce insurance premiums, medical costs, short-term disability and worker comp claims. Companies that are innovating and providing new benefits for their workers – which might even include steam in the company gym or as an incentive – are those that stand out.