Paul Drechsler, Chairman/CEO, Wates Group Limited
Good health IS good business
We spend more of our lives at work than we do in any other activity. For a business to be successful in its ventures, its employees must be healthy. To have top workplace productivity, employee health is a determining factor.
Creating a culture in the workplace that promotes health and well-being through all aspects of your employees’ lives has multiple health benefits. They can be fit, happy, fulfilled, and healthy. While organizations are aware of this importance, there are few programs that are implemented or preserved. According to Metlife’s 20th Annual Employee Benefits Trends study, “holistically healthy employees are 51% more likely to say they intend to be at their organization in 12 months’ time”. So, why and how should organizations focus on a more healthy workplace environment?
What is the Role of Employee Health and Why is it Important?
Employee health has a direct correlation with the rate of success of a company. It determines how well an organization can face adversity and obstacles that come down the road. Healthy employees are more likely to be better equipped to perform well and be more productive than sick employees. In addition, healthy employees are less likely to fall victim to health problems, both acute and chronic, and incur fewer healthcare costs for their employers. Every year, chronic illnesses and injuries among the US workforce cost organizations billions of dollars due to absences and decreased productivity. According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, in 2019, organizations spent $575 billion on employee absences and illnesses, resulting in costs of about $3,900 per employee and 1.5 billion days of lost productivity.
Benefits of Promoting a Healthy Workforce
In today’s world, more and more people are looking for jobs with companies that care about their employees and the health of the workplace. When you shift the focus to a healthy workplace, you are better able to attract top talent and also retain your current employees. By retaining current employees, organizations can cut down on onboarding and training costs. Data shows in a 2022 Indeed survey, “80% of employees are more likely to stay with their current organization if happiness and wellbeing are measured, with 60% believing their wellbeing is integral to the organization’s overall health”.
Tips for a Healthy Workplace Culture
Shifting an organization’s culture to focus on health, it allows the opportunity for higher employee satisfaction and morale, increased productivity, higher retention rates, and much more all while still being a profitable company. Below are some examples of how to cultivate a healthy workplace.
Focusing on employee wellness is essential to ensuring efficient productivity and a stable retention rate. Showing your employees that you care about their well-being, not only does it save money for an organization long-term, but it also establishes your company as an employer of choice. By following these tips, you can cultivate a workplace culture that thrives on employee wellness and satisfaction.
Encourage physical activity: While it might sound easy to take the time to go to the gym, the most significant challenge employees face is finding the time to go. An employer, there are multiple ways to encourage physical activity during the workday. This includes free gym memberships, hour lunch breaks for walks, and providing the option for standing/treadmill desks.
Check up on employee stress levels: Mental health is as important as physical health. According to the American Psychological Association 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey, “87% of employees think actions from their employer would help their mental health by offering flexible hours, encouraging employees to take care of their health, encouraging employees to take time off, and encouraging breaks during the workday”. In addition, another 37% of employees believed that if mental health resources were provided, their work environment would improve (apa.org). Some other ways to focus on mental health for employees is determining sources of stress and deciding how to decrease these levels.
Emphasize the importance of good nutrition: Exercise is a counterpart to a good diet. Fueling the body with nutritious foods, it can provide physical and mental improvements, such as increased energy and dopamine. In fact, a Japanese study has found that “higher work engagement is associated with a healthier pattern of dietary behaviors among workers”. You can promote healthy diets by providing plenty of access to water to promote hydration, providing healthy, clean ingredient snacks in the breakroom, and even promoting virtual cooking classes.
Provide a wellness allowance: Offering a wellness benefit will not only increase physical activity but also employee satisfaction and retention. This allowance could be a wellness stipend, a taxable benefit paid to employees to help them cover wellness expenses. This can be used on gym memberships, mental health services, wellness mobile apps, and much more. This option allows your employees to live a healthier lifestyle all while you are able to ensure cost control.
About the author:
Jennah Worthington is a Brand Ambassador Intern for illuminate.health and is a senior studying Healthcare & Business at Butler University. She has a passion for the pharmaceutical industry and gaining a deeper understanding of the roles of health providers, insurers, and administrators. She strives to help find ways to increase accessibility in various areas of healthcare. Jennah resides in Indianapolis and enjoys going on walks with her Dalmatian.