We all want to work smarter, not harder, but even technological advances haven’t conquered adding more hours into the day. One of the of the first things that seems to get sacrificed by increased demands in the workplace is our health. Less time for self-care, declining energy, more sick days and stress contribute to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and a general morale problem. This all translates to more than just elevated healthcare costs for employers, it’s compromising our collective wellbeing.
Thankfully workplace wellness programs have entered into play to help mitigate health challenges for workers and it’s mutually beneficial for the companies. While some initiatives focus on individual challenges like smoking cessation, mental health care or weight loss, there’s a growing trend for keeping it simple by building community with group activities inserted right into the workday like on-site mind/body fitness classes, “lunch & learns” and healthy cooking demonstrations.
Feedback on these types of programs is overwhelming positive because of the convenience of being able to participate during the workday. That means on-site classes like the ones corporate wellness provider Goomi Group offers may just be the alternative to bending time.
Here are 10 Reasons Workplace Wellness Works
- It’s convenient and time-savvy. If it’s easy, employees will be more likely to participate. And if they participate, they’re more likely to adapt the new habits and behaviors they learn through wellness offerings. Providing classes that improve health during office hours makes it simple for staff to schedule it in their busy lives.
- There’s a positive domino effect. Most health problems are caused by poor eating habits combined with a sedentary lifestyle. By bringing group exercise classes and nutrition education onsite, employers light the spark of inspiration for healthy habits and an organic chain reaction takes place.
- Mob mentality works to the program’s advantage. Employees model each other’s behaviors. Even if participation isn’t mandatory, once non-compliant employees observe enthusiastic ones going to classes, bringing healthy snacks, and keeping water bottles on their desks, it’s inevitable that even the most resistant folks will give some element of the wellness program a try. Peer influence is real and it can be a major motivator!
- It’s been studied and proven effective. The Rand Report Workplace Wellness Programs Study lead author, Soeren Mattke states, “We find that workplace wellness programs can help contain the current epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases, the main driver of premature morbidity and mortality as well as health care cost in the United States.” #BOOM
- Wellness programs attract the best of the best and keep them. Perks mean a lot these days, and offering on-site wellness programming can be just the item that sets you apart from the competition. When a prospective new hire is considering their offer, imagine if on-site massages and lunchtime Pilates were a part of their deal. It could be what sways a star prospect to sign with you.
- Workplace wellness creates company culture and loyalty. According to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit,” employees who say their company has a wellness culture, regardless of size, report better outcomes across a broad range of concerns, from fitness and diet to overall well-being and engagement with the employer’s mission. Such a culture, the EIU research shows, is achievable for a broad range of companies and can provide an important competitive advantage.
- It’s fun! How can employees not enjoy an all-day health fair that includes massages? Whether your team likes mellow meditation or high intensity boot camp, nutrition education or boardroom yoga, there’s a wellness program out there that will resonate with your people and bring more joy to their day. Happier employees mean less absenteeism, more productivity and decreased healthcare costs.
- Employees have something to look forward to. A post-work kickboxing class or 10-minute massages once a month can be major motivation. A workforce that looks forward to coming to work is highly valuable. When staff get in early for a pre-shift Vinyasa yoga class, or powers through their morning tasks just so they can make the lunchtime meditation group, the return on investment is immense.
- It produces positive change. Stress-reduction, weight loss, improved sleep, mood elevation and increased mobility are some of the possible outcomes from engaging in wellness programs.
- Workplace wellness improves the bottom line. Whether happier, healthier employees recoup the investment in programming via productivity, healthcare costs or camaraderie, wellness itself is priceless. Need numbers? A study found, “Employees who participated in a program and successfully improved their health care or lifestyle showed significant improvements in lost work time. These employees saved an average of $353 per person per year. This reflects about 10.3 hours in additional productive time annually, compared with similar, but non participating employees.”
Mika Leah is a wellness professional and founder of Goomi. You can reach Mika at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly at 310-945-6857.
Wellness: Human Resource Perspective
Workplace Wellness Programs are now a standard component of a Company’s benefits program. Employers looking to create a healthy and productive work environment usually focus on how to interact and engage all employees and especially the largest demographic of America’s workforce, millennials. A Wellness Program can be very successful if it is customized to a company’s values and employee needs/preferences. The convenience of wellness opportunities and/or incentives can assist employee’s in many ways by improving their mind and body which in turn lower absenteeism and improves morale. It also can help to attract talent and help with retention. It is also a great public relations tool!
Lynn Hounsley is the president of Integrity HR, Inc., a California based Human Resources consulting firm specializing in helping business owners stay compliant and provide support with employee issues to maintain a positive work environment. Contact Lynn at 951-833-8372 or email@example.com.
Wellness: Employee Benefits Professional Perspective
Employers who really appreciate their employees look for proven motivational tools to use as incentives and rewards for work behaviours they want to encourage. Employees consistently report cash incentives usually work best, followed by time off.
Employers looking for a longer term employee incentive often find some “wellness programs” help employees while also impacting the employer in terms of employee morale, job satisfaction and overall performance leading to profits. Although wellness is ideally not just a one time “thing,” employers need to start somewhere and build wellness into the fabric of their company employee philosophy. Wellness program components that fit together will help evolve into a comprehensive wellness program.
As employee benefits advisors we can play a role. Often the place to start is within the annual open enrollment process. If the employer wants to change up things, consider shifting the annual open enrollment to an event such as a benefit fair. If this is not possible during open enrollment but shows promise, find a mid-year point that makes sense. First you’ll need to gain support from the management and work within a budget. Remember there is a great deal of competition among brokers. Be the one who looks hard at retention and sees wellness as a valuable tool that will help you grow closer to ownership and employees. As employee benefit advisors we often look for ways to help our clients solve problems. Wellness is a people focused service and not just more technology. Find an experienced wellness professional who can help you add value to your client relationship through proven wellness programs. Your role is to coordinate the event and keep the focus on employees while shining the light on the employer, owners and HR.
Phil Calhoun owns Integrity Advisors, a California based employee benefits agency. Phil is a member of the 2019 Cal Broker editorial advisory board.