Employee wellness programs are a proven way to improve employee health, boost productivity, and reduce a company’s total healthcare spending.
But what exactly are they and are they just a passing fad?
Read on to find out!
What exactly are employee wellness programs?
Employee wellness programs come in various shapes and sizes, but at the most basic level, they’re aim is to improve and promote employee mental and physical well-being.
With employee wellness programs, businesses can:
- Promote the health benefits of wellness to employees
- Identify and correct conditions, traits, and issues that can compromise the health of employees
- Reduce the level of stress in workers
- Increase productivity
- Reduce health care costs
Employees are a company’s most valuable resource and failing to look after staff health can cost businesses in the long run.
What are the benefits of employee wellness program?
Employee wellness programs have multiple benefits, both for the employers and the employees. In this section we will discus a few in detail.
It can help to reduce health care costs
One of the main benefits of employee wellness programs is reduced healthcare costs. When a business takes care of employee health with proactive initiatives, they are less likely to fall sick. Less sickness equals fewer sick days which brings more productivity and a healthier bottom line.
It can help increase productivity
Wellness programs help increase productivity levels in employees. Often employees are too busy with their daily schedule to look after their health. This can result in poor work performance or a drop in productivity levels in the long run. With wellness programs, businesses can prioritize the mental and physical well-being of employees and, ultimately, this can help increase focus, productivity, and performance at work.
It can help a business to attain higher engagement
Implementing wellness initiatives at the workplace can result in higher engagement levels. This is often because a carefully curated wellness program involves engaging the teams for an activity or task. For example, wellness programs can include engaging group activities like walking meetings and weight loss challenges.
Fun wellness activities can turn into opportunities to bond with other employees and create a culture of enthusiasm that leads to higher engagement.
It can reduce absenteeism
Employee absenteeism can affect businesses greatly, especially if it happens frequently. With wellness programs in the workplace, companies can help employees stay fit and healthy. When a workforce is stress-free and physically and mentally fit, there are likely to be fewer absences from work due to health reasons.
It can help gain higher employee retention
There are many reasons why an employee may want to look around elsewhere for employment. But a successful wellness program is a great way to show that you care about their well-being and, at the end of the day, may tempt them into staying with a business rather than looking for greener pastures.
It can help increase employee morale
Most businesses have a jam-packed work schedule. While a team might feel energetic about work initially, their morale might slip when they have tight deadlines to meet and meetings to attend each and every day.
Employee wellness programs provide employees with an opportunity to destress and focus on themselves. This can help them feel happier about the work they are doing.
How can I use a corporate wellness program in my business?
It’s easy in the modern world for organizations to provide their employees with wellness initiatives.
Here are a few things that businesses can implement as part of their own wellness program.
Appoint a health ambassador
A Health Ambassador can do wonders for your organization. There might be several employees in your business who are passionate about health and are willing to pass on their enthusiasm to other employees.
These people can role models for others and you can leverage their positive attitude to help encourage other members of your teams.
Offer a gym membership as a benefit
Another way you can encourage wellness at the workplace is to offer your employees a gym membership. This doesn’t have to be completely free but could be subsidized.
A gym membership is a great way to push your staff towards living a healthy lifestyle.
Give staff access to health articles and resources
Changing the existing trends and work patterns at the workplace can take a long time. You will first have to motivate employees to think towards living a healthy lifestyle. Only then will they feel encouraged to take action.
Health articles and resources are some of the best ways to do this. Create a newsletter or share information relating to physical and mental health, exercises, and more. This will help staff to understand how important their health and welfare are.
Offer healthy snacks in snack machines or canteens
Snacks are the most overlooked food items we consume and snacking while working is one of the most talked about causes of obesity in the UK.
As an organization, you can change the way your staff feel about snacking by providing employees with healthy snacks. This includes stocking any vending machines with healthy alternatives.
Encourage work breaks
Many employees take only one break in a day, which is usually lunch. For the rest of the time, they’re either too involved in finishing tasks or mandated by their line managers to keep working.
The problem is, staying at a desk for long periods can adversely impact mental and physical health. From backaches to cramps, eye strains, and more, not taking sufficient breaks can lead to severe health issues in the long run.
It’s important for employers to encourage employees to take frequent breaks to give them time to relax, unwind and destress.
Are employees obliged by law to offer a wellness program?
The short answer is no. There is no legal obligation in the UK for employers to offer their staff a wellness program.
Of course, employers do have a duty of care to their employees and must adhere to all health and safety legislation.
In the modern workplace, employee wellness programs can be a great tool to keep staff healthy and engaged.
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