From workplace politics to government compliance issues, businesses are presented with a slew of challenges, but one that often times goes unnoticed is the health of your workers. Did you know that the Health and Safety Executive reported around 27 million working days were lost in 2011 and 2012? Of those missed days, 22.7 million were due to work-related illness and 4.3 million were due to workplace injuries. How is a business supposed to stay in the black, improve their bottom lines and increase employee retention?
The first place to start is looking at the health of your employees and asking, “What am I doing to promote wellness in the workplace?” Offering a wellness program that manages employees’ long-term conditions with the intention of driving action within the company is healthy for both the business its staff members.
It is no coincidence that organizations taking better care of their employees generally see increases in productivity because employees can stay on the job longer, take fewer sick days and are both mentally and emotionally available. While no one can say for certain that ROI and employee health are directly related, studies show that companies recognized for their employee health and safety cultures outperform the Standard & Poor’s 500 by 3.03% – 5.27%. It may be that these companies have it all figured out. Healthy employees are more alert, prepared and focused; it’s that simple.
While studies suggest a healthier workforce makes for healthier earnings, companies still have to decide if wellness programs are worth the investment. The capital needed to start a health and wellness program for your business may be what’s holding you back, but the returns from a healthier and happier workforce may just be worthwhile. Making this pivotal change to promote healthy behaviors could potentially lend to impactful results.
Are you doing enough to promote a healthier workforce?
If starting a robust program isn’t in the cards for you, the good news is that there are small steps you can take to promote wellness. Here are a few ideas to bring health to your business:
- Offer fruit or veggie trays once a week in the break room as opposed to cookie trays (a small gesture with big benefits).
- Bring vaccinations to the workplace. Encouraging and even funding vaccinations for employees is a great ROI.
- Encourage exercise. Offer on-site gym classes such as Pilates, Boot Camp or create secure bike stations for commuters. If structural changes are too significant, consider starting a walking/running group in the office or offer discounts at a local gym.
- Stress taking over the office? Bring in health experts to speak on these issues and discuss ways to be healthier. Have a brown-bag luncheon filled with healthier food options while someone speaks about the benefits of clean eating.
- Have incentive programs or winner-takes-all programs. At Paycom we have a Biggest Loser contest and participants put in $10 to join and after a span of several months the winner collects the money. Weekly updates are posted to keep employees motivated.
- Be the advocate of clean eating. When you’re busy at work it’s easy to quickly grab something to eat, which typically comes from a vending machine. Offer employees healthy options opposed to chips and candy.
- Mental Health is a serious issue. Sleep deprivation, stress, depression all lead to inefficiency at work. Bring in massage therapists one day and allow employees to sign up for mini sessions or simply encourage them to take short breaks to catch their breath. Step outside for some fresh air, talk with a mentor or go on a walk.
Still not sure why you should care?
Before you disregard the idea of adding a wellness program to your organization let’s consider the benefits. A study by Towers Watson Staying at Work 2009-2010, revealed greater performance trends among companies with effective health and productivity programs. Specifically, these companies experienced:
- 11% greater revenue per employee;
- 28% higher shareholder returns;
- 1.2 percentage points in lower medical trends and
- 1.8 fewer reported absences per employee.
The take away is that companies are experiencing financial gains from investing in wellness programs and you can too. Whether its small investments or large reconstructive projects, a wellness program benefits both the employer and the employees. Start planning today.