Self-care is the new horizon for employers in the 21st century. From apps like Headspace that tout their meditative benefits to Google’s installation of napping pods to encourage office productivity, companies are striving to maintain their employees’ well-being. According to the Global Wellness Institute, workplaces have invested over $40 billion dollars in programs that improve wellbeing – and it’s rising as attitudes about work are changing.
A study by the Virgin Pulse Institute found that the 3.2 billion workers who show up every day and get stuff done are tired, stressed, and suffering from more chronic disease than the rest of the world’s population. So if you think that investing in wellness programs is expensive; know that the costs of work-related health issues and stress can be 8 times greater.
But what do wellness programs really do for employers and employees? And what’s the best way to go about implementing such benefits?
Having a happy life is largely influenced by three things: health, social connection, and work. Unhappiness in one of these areas will affect the other two, for example, if you’re stressed about finding time to be with your family, you’re going to be a lot less focused at work.
A healthy workplace is more than just hitting the corporate gym for thirty minutes after lunch. In fact, research shows that the cost of lost productivity is often 2.3 times more than the cost of medical services. Work in the 21st century requires adaptability, collaboration, and constant learning as more of it is being done in conjunction with technology. Ultimately, comprehensive wellness programs help foster those new qualities that every modern employer wants in their office.
Give your workplace a competitive advantage
Happy, healthy workers also give your company an edge. By encouraging employees to invest in their social, mental, and physical health, you are embracing the most up-and-coming business strategy to gain that competitive advantage you crave.
Not only do wellness programs positively affect your hard-line return on investment (ROI), but they also surpass any financial returns by fostering workplace engagement and morale. Wellness programs reduce sick day and turnover costs, increasing retention and the number of people to work on projects in a given day.
Employees also highly value wellbeing as a benefit and as such, they desire – if not expect – their employers to help fund it. Research by Deloitte shows that reimbursement for wellbeing is desired by 67% of all employees, yet disappointingly, only provided by 25%.
Table that shows employees prefer flexibiliy as number 1 wellbeing
Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation: if workers are happy (and doing what they’re supposed to!), your company culture flourishes, and your bottom line increases.
Finding unique ways to help employees participate
But what does a successful wellness program actually entail? Many companies offer a standardised program. Typically, these programs offer access to a range of activities geared towards maintaining physical fitness. However, new data shows that employees are more willing than ever to take an active, holistic role in the maintenance their health.
Some companies, like Cisco, offer financial planning in additions to onsite medical and fitness services. Other places try to combat stagnation at work by encourage job swaps, which promote collaboration between departments. Having many options is clearly key to a successful wellness program. But how do you get people to participate?
A new survey from Welltok discovered that 80% of people would actually prefer individualized plans. This means that companies should shy away from offering one-size-fits-all programs. Instead of offering monetary incentives or short-term weight loss campaigns, workplaces should build health into their missions and values statements to build a “culture of health”. Doing so encourages employees to seek out activities that work for them and doesn’t make them feel guilty. They also feel that their self-care is contributing to their work routine!
Catering to everyone’s needs certainly sounds like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Using online careers benefits platforms such as Career Money Life, businesses can give employees a completely individualised career experiences, at no additional cost to the employer.
This means that companies can allocate a health and wellness budget to employees who can self-select what will keep them happy in every part of their life – from childcare to maybe that spin class they’ve always been dying to try!
An innovative workforce and successful company are all about maintaining happiness and health – and making sure that every employee has the ability to decide what that means for them.
Want to create an individualised health and wellbeing program for your people? Reach out to us to find out how we can help.