Summary: workplace wellness is not a new movement, however recently more and more corporations put efforts in to improvements. In this post we talk about the importance of employee wellbeing and how it affects the quality of work.
The cost of wellbeing at work
A while back the old-fashioned approach to work was similar to this: you go to work, get the job done, be grateful to be employed and get paid. Feeling tired? Your back hurts? Eyes are burning? Feeling sluggish due to siting at your desk all day? Well, that is just how work works…
In today’s Western world our expectations have changed and we realize how important it is to spend energy and time with work related wellness and wellbeing. After all, a happy and healthy employee most likely creates a much higher quality of work than the one with all kinds of aches, pains, and unhappiness.
What really is wellbeing at work?
Wellbeing in general is a person’s state of psychological, emotional and mental happiness. We spend a disproportionate time of our lives with and at work. Some of us enjoys work so much that the hours fly by and don’t even notice that those 8-10 hours at the office are gone. This attitude belongs to a fairly small percentage of the workforce. The rest takes work as a grownup responsibility; something we (hopefully) enjoy doing and we are committed to, but not necessarily instead of going on a beach holiday or staying at home with the fam. It is important that we feel well during our working hours. This wellbeing can be achieved through certain steps towards improving life quality and emotional wellbeing at work.
The cost of employee wellbeing
As some of the most successful and innovative organizations recognized already (such as Google, Rand, Zappos, Accenture, Microsoft, JetBlue…just to name a few), employee health and wellbeing is key to high productivity and employee retention. These brands go beyond just to talk about employee welfare, and actually invest time and energy in creating resources, and embracing a workplace wellness culture. They have the know-how, and the budget to build the most amazing employee playgrounds; various facilities from gyms, to swimming pools, on-site laundry rooms, shoe repairs, dry-cleaning services, massage parlors, and resting rooms. Big and established organizations can easier create all these offers. However there are plenty of things that you can do towards employee wellness that doesn’t require huge investments.
Things that can be done at any workplace
Work wellness program doesn’t need to offer excessive initiatives such as employee gym or swimming pool, but rather encouraging employees to focus on key health behaviors such as physical activity, improving eating habits and generally reducing stress. A workplace wellness program should not just be the responsibility of the HR department. To create a successful initiative, we recommend the senior management to champion the steps from the beginning and participate in the initiative regularly. Based on scientific studies and various, international publications such as Harvard T.H. Chan’s ‘The Business Benefits of a Healthy Workforce’ the cost of not having a work wellness program is higher than implementing one.
Workplace improvements with wellness
With a well thought-out corporate wellness program in place, your company can expect up to 15% improvements in the following areas:
- Reduction of absenteeism and presenteeism
- Increased productivity
- Improvements in talent acquisition
- Higher employee morale
- Reduced healthcare/insurance cost
- Reduced staff turnover
- Improved health of employees
Stress at work
And it all boils down to stress. Work can give us lots of joy, financial freedom and a great sense of accomplishment. But… and of course there is a but. While we achieve all these noble and rewarding things, we most likely have to tackle daily hurdles of silly and stressful things. Late deliveries, messed up orders, designer late with a project, a colleague calling in sick. Upcoming deadline, budget pressures, a product doesn’t sell as well as expected…etc. The list can be as long as you wish, all of us have to deal with at least some of these issues.
According to The American Institute of Stress some of the most common symptoms of stress are: excess anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, depression, reduced work efficiency or productivity, weight gain, increased smoking, alcohol, or drug use.
According to Farleigh Dickinson University, the negative impact of stress can result at work in:
- More missed days
- Lower overall productivity
- Higher staff turnover
- Workers’ compensation
- Medical insurance & other stress-related expenses
If you are a business owner, a HR manager or an employee thinking of initiating some work wellness programs, do reach out to us. We have amazing wellness plans, and we have just the perfect solution for you. Unless you go with building a swimming pool instead. Oh well, do contact even if you build that swimming pool :-). We might pop over to show you a couple of awesome water aerobic exercises.