Most people can get behind the idea that health, happiness, and productivity at work are related concepts. As an office manager, you have an opportunity to foster all three with a workplace wellness program.
As the world of work progresses, wellness programs are more important than ever. In fact, 4 out of 5 employees rate office well-being programs as valuable.
That’s why more and more companies are realizing there’s more to wellness than just their employees’ physical health. Sure, it’s important your team is healthy and at work, but ensuring they’re productive and engaged is really the goal.
There are different types of corporate wellness programs with the best being the ones that educate and encourage employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle. So what exactly is a workplace wellness program and how much would your office benefit from this?
Here, we present 9 reasons to consider employee wellness programs in 2020. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Workplace Wellness Program?
Workplace or Employee wellness programs are a form of health benefits that are provided by employers to encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles.
These programs help employees stay healthy or, in some cases, help them improve their physical, mental, or even financial health.
Wellness programs can range from ideas that have a specific purpose, such as helping the employee to stop smoking or to lose weight; to onsite gyms or gym memberships; to incentive programs that provide rewards for participation or in achieving the desired results.
Since there are no rules specifying exactly what constitutes an employee wellness program, your wellness program could be anything from providing information on healthy eating to having scheduled workshops and seminars monthly on different health topics.
For inspiration, ask your employees what kind of activities they’d participate in if they had the opportunity. You could conduct an informal survey, hold a brainstorming meeting, ask everyone to email ideas or set out a tried-and-true suggestion box.
If you want examples and an article that’s dedicated to the subject of wellness, check out 10 Office Health And Wellness Trends For 2020
Does Your Office Need A Wellness Program?
It’s no secret that healthy people are happier and that happy people are less likely to develop long-term diseases. Your employees are people too. Their health directly affects their happiness, and their happiness directly influences their productivity.
So the answer is an obvious YES. That’s because employee wellness and employee performance are linked, a culture of wellness actually drives results by helping to create an engaged workforce. You’re going to want your employees to be healthy so they can be happy, in turn, be more productive.
As an office manager, you play a crucial role in making this happen by working to change workplace habits and boost participation in all health-related activities a company offers. Today, more than 9 in 10 organizations across the globe offer employees at least one kind of wellness benefit, and more than 3 in 5 have dedicated “wellness budgets,” which are expected to expand by 7.8% in the coming years.
Your office should take advantage of this too. Just remember that in order to reap the full benefits, wellness programs can’t be a campaign; it has to be ingrained in your culture.
Benefits Of Workplace Wellness Programs
1. Improve Employee Health Behaviors
A wellness program usually offers an umbrella of health care initiatives and this is perhaps the biggest benefit of having a wellness program.
Making lasting changes to behaviors is challenging for many Americans, but a research report suggests workplace wellness programs can provide a much needed assist. It shows that the benefits of employee wellness programs include improvements in physical activity; higher fruit and vegetable consumption; lower fat intake; and a reduction in body weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
Overall, wellness programs offer more than exercise. Employees are given tips for healthy eating, offered counseling for substance abuse problems and domestic issues. Workers spend a major part of their day on the job.
By expanding wellness programs to consider total lifestyle, you can show to your employees that you care about them.
2. Reduce Elevated Health Risks
Employee wellness programs that encourage physical activity can improve the overall health and well-being of the workforce. A study found that physical inactivity has become more deadly – and more costly – than smoking. The good news is that studies suggest that an hour a day of exercise can help mediate the risks of a sedentary lifestyle.
When employees actively participate in wellness programs, the incidence of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes can be reduced as well. Program participants may also have lower rates of chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
All in all, this results in a healthier staff, which often translates to happier and more productive team members.
3. Help Sustain High Employee Morale
The best thing about participating in a wellness program is that it makes living a healthy lifestyle a habit. Employee involvement can boost self-worth; create a more fit body and mind. Wellness thinking extends to the employees overall lifestyle.
When you offer wellness programs to your employees, it shows that the company cares about more than the bottom line. Employees feel that they are valued when the company shows that they want workers to stay at their best.
Participating in non-work activities together also strengthens employee relationships and your company culture. So you should frequently encourage employees to participate in the company wellness programs and ask workers to provide feedback about ways to improve on and add to current offerings.
4. Curb Absenteeism
Wellness programs have the ability to improve employee health and can also have an impact on whether or not individuals are absent from work. But there is another reason why wellness programs can have such a large impact on absenteeism. Employees who have high morale are significantly less likely to be absent from work.
Employees who are provided with wellness programs often enjoy coming to work and exercising with coworkers and friends. Because of their desire to come to work, the company saves money both in a reduction of sick leave days and in the reduced cost of employee turnover.
Lower absenteeism means higher work output. When an employee is healthy, he tends to be in a happier state. A happy employee is a productive employee. Being healthy also leads to better concentration and higher energy at work, which means more consistent output and performance.
In view of this, your organization can benefit greatly from such productivity.
5. Improve Productivity
Time away from work related tasks invigorates the employee and helps them to maintain focus. Even the most dedicated employees struggle to maintain attention after looking at a monitor, standing at a counter or performing repetitive tasks for hours. Providing workers opportunities to step away periodically makes for a more productive workplace.
In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, when employees leveraged wellness programs to make lifestyle changes, they ended up saving their companies about $353 in recouped productivity—productivity they gained as a result of their newfound wellness.
Evidence also indicates that instituting workplace health programs can reduce the average sick leave, health plan, and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs by approximately 25 percent.
6. Increase Employee Retention
In today’s ever-changing workplace, it’s clear that workers have specific needs and must-haves when it comes to their ideal job. Companies that offer an array of benefits, including employee wellness programs, have a better chance of attracting top talent and enjoying good employee retention.
When you offer your employees a wellness program, you are showing them that you care about them. You are letting them know that you want to do everything you can to keep them in good health and optimal performance. Employees know when they are appreciated. They know when they feel looked out for and valued as an important part of the organization.
Lastly, when you encourage your workers to take care of their health, they feel like they matter, which garners a sense of company loyalty. Workers may be more inclined to consistently perform at the top of their ability. That knowledge can go a long way toward convincing employees to stick around.
7. Reduce Work-related Stress
A major reason for employee burnout, turnover and personal time off is stress. In an attempt to drive production and meet quotas workers can be driven beyond their capacity, leading to low morale, lack of inspiration and perhaps a physical breakdown.
Wellness programs provide a number of options that can alleviate some of the symptoms of stress. Employees can take time to recharge and return to their tasks with a clear mind and better focus.
As employees work on improving their health together, bonding and camaraderie will follow. The social interaction and positive reinforcement involved in the wellness program may help your employees combat work-related stress.
All in all, by offering wellness programs that entail physical, mental, and financial health, your company can create an environment that provides not only a happier and healthier workforce but also save you and your employees from the burden of stress.
8. Provide Help Beyond Physical Wellness
Most people think of employee wellness programs as programs that focus on the physical body – such as providing means to exercise during the day – eating healthier or losing weight. But it is just as important for your employees to have good mental and emotional health.
That’s why mental health in the workplace is now being addressed more than ever. In fact, mental health disorders are among the most burdensome health concerns in the United States. 44.7 million people reported any mental illness in 2016. In addition, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Indeed, by supporting employees’ mental well-being through workplace wellness programs, benefits are felt across the organization. They will appreciate you and this makes them happier and more comfortable, in turn developing a more positive working environment.
9. May Improve Your Bottom Line
Having an employee wellness program can help you attract and keep hard working employees because they view a wellness program as a benefit they’d like to have at work. But wellness programs also provide benefits to the company that can clearly affect and improve your bottom line.
In a case study of large companies, total medical spending at a company with an employee wellness program experienced slower growth in health costs than companies without a program. Another study estimated health care expenses were less expensive per person per year across several areas.
Overall, workplace wellness programs may reduce medical costs, absenteeism and health-related productivity losses. When an organization’s workforce is healthy, medical costs are naturally lower, which keeps insurance premiums to a roar.
With more employees making wellness a priority, you will have no choice but to follow suit. And while this may require some additional investment, the 9 benefits mentioned above prove the payback is vast.
From more sustainable, and cost-effective working environments, to healthier, happier, more productive employees, and ultimately, healthier workplace culture.
If you don’t offer an employee wellness program or some kind of wellness activity, you’re competing for good employees with companies that do provide such programs. So there’s no better time to plan and start your wellness program than now!
It’s time to help your employees achieve their health goals— to eat healthier, get more exercise, increase self-care, and improve workplace culture!
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