How a wellness programme in your company can increase employee satisfaction and drive efficiencies
Organisations in the UK have long taken a curative approach to their employees’ health and physical wellbeing by granting them time off when they were ill, or intervening in a health and safety capacity if they were injured during their work duties.
Now, progressive organisations are reaping the benefits of adopting a new proactive mindset when it comes to corporate wellness.
The business benefits of employee wellbeing
It goes without saying that a well thought out corporate wellness programme can benefit employees in every aspect of their lives from the physical, to the mental, to the emotional. What employers are increasingly recognising however, is that the benefits do not end there. Wellness initiatives are increasingly being shown to deliver critical business benefits. Here we outline three key business reasons to invest in the wellbeing of your employees.
1. Improved employee retention
Employees come and go. The rate of employee departure, or employee churn rate, tends to vary depending on the industry, job type and wage bracket. Typically, employee churn rate is higher for those in lower paid positions or more difficult working conditions.
However, organisations who commit to protecting employee wellness make big strides towards making their lives easier, removing obstacles from their day-to-day work, thus avoiding disruption in the form of employee turnover.
2. Increased productivity
A 2015 global research study from Regus, the flexible office space provider, revealed that 53% of employees believed they were closer to burnout than they were in 2010
By helping to reduce stress at work and addressing other employee wellness challenges such as diet and exercise, you are actively building morale and growing employee loyalty as well as preventing burnout.
A study from the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, found that a group of employees made happier via three different styles of experiments showed approximately 12% greater productivity at work than a control group.
3. Keeping costs down and protecting revenues
Implementing a wellness programme in your organisation will take some time and require investment, but in the long run it can help maintain billable hours thanks to reduced absenteeism. A healthier workforce can also reduce private health insurance premiums, if a private health cover scheme is in place in your company. This is because some insurers calculate insurance premiums based on a number of factors that make up an employee’s risk profile including pre-existing conditions. On paper, the healthier the employee the cheaper the premium.
How to set up a Wellness Programme in your workplace
If you’re ready to set up a corporate wellness programme in your company, be aware that it will grow and adapt with your workforce over time. If you’re starting from scratch, here are some important initiatives to spearhead to help you cover a multitude of aspects related to employee wellbeing.
Teach stress-coping skills
People deal with stress in different ways and likewise people in different jobs are exposed to unique stresses depending on their position. This means the best strategy is to equip your employees with stress coping skills which they can apply to any situation at work or in the home.
Reach out to a professional health partner that can come in and run a seminar with staff or alternatively train relevant members of the HR department to become qualified and teach these skills in-house. Whichever you decide, ensure that the seminars will teach employees how to:
- Manage stress at work
- Increase self-awareness about how to recognise stress at work
- React effectively to stress at work
According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress is a major cause of absenteeism from the workforce at a cost of £5 billion each year. Download the free ebook from the HSE that helps prepare your organisation for dealing with work-related stress.
Fuel fitness and nutrition
Research shows that many employees are now listing their food and exercise needs above traditional work-related pressures.
21% of respondents in the Regus global workplace survey cited lack of healthy eating and exercise as some of the most stressful aspects of their work life. This was above factors such as worry over job instability (15%) and working environment (7%) and working to deadlines (14%).
You can put your employees at ease by launching a sports and social club, subsidising entry fees to competitive events and even providing flexi time to facilitate morning and evening gym sessions.
On the nutrition side, you can provide access to a dietician that can come into the office and help advise your employees on a suitable diet to keep them happy and healthy. You could also provide access to confidential and private health screenings in the office, to help staff learn about how to achieve their optimum weight, body mass index, glucose levels and more.
Promote meditation and mindfulness
When it comes to practicing meditation and mindfulness, some employees prefer to do this in private while others are more comfortable in a group setting. One thing that is helpful for both preferences is to set up a quiet room in the company. This could be a disused office filled with comfortable furniture that is away from chatter, office phones and fax machines where employees can go to take a moment for themselves.
As well as a place for quiet reflection, it could double as a group meditation or yoga room. Ensure you have the necessary insurance in place if you are to host any sporting or aerobic classes on the premises.
If you’re not sure how to kickstart mindfulness in your company, you can start with a corporate subscription to the Headspace app and allow your staff to achieve peace of mind in their own time and in a setting that puts them at ease.
Offer healthcare on-demand
A cost-effective way to reassure staff that their medical concerns will be looked after is to provide access to online doctor consultations with VideoDoc. As well as giving employees access to a medical professional through a video chat service between 8am -10am, the corporate subscription can be modified to cover their children and loved ones too – the ultimate peace of mind.
Celebrate your staff
Put a system in place that allows time to celebrate and reward your employees’ accomplishments when possible. This could be in the form of subsidising team nights out or hosting family day events and activities.
On a professional level, get leaders of outstanding projects to showcase their work to fellow employees in a case study format to let others know where successes can be achieved. This is a great way to inspire fellow employees on how to overcome obstacles, while showing them that everyone is dealing and managing their own challenges while still focused on their professional duties.
Survey staff regularly
Before, you establish your company wellness plan, send an anonymous survey to all employees and use their feedback to shape the employee wellbeing programme. Check-in every 6 months to see if any offerings or feature of the programme need to be replaced. Remember the needs and priorities of your employees can be unique may not identically follow the results of research studies or findings from other companies in your industry.
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