When Apple presents its view on the best of 2018 it’s worth a look at the trends in sales of apps for a fascinating window into what people are doing. The top app trend of the year is self-care. This reflects a global interest in wellness.
Corporate wellness can do so much for your business. Here’s why a wellness corporate solutions company is the best business investment you can make.
What Is Corporate Wellness?
Education about health and wellbeing is reaching more of us through media, apps, and education. Yet, in the developed world at least, there are many reasons to worry about our health.
Levels of obesity and poor diet are high. Stress, anxiety, and depression are a common feature of most organizations’ absence reports. Illegal and even prescription drug use is impacting our workplaces.
You may be cutting back on sugar and trying to go to the gym more often. You may have given up smoking years ago. You are not alone and many people are looking for ways of living longer happier lives.
You may have more understanding and will power than most but would still appreciate a little more help to change your lifestyle. Many people lack the education, motivation, and support to make these lifestyle changes.
The impact of poor physical and mental health is not only felt by individuals and their loved ones. It also has an impact on corporate performance and employee engagement. For this reason, organizations have sought to help employees improve their wellness.
What’s included in a corporate wellness solution? It can vary from one organization to another. If it’s to be effective, customize it to meet the needs of the organization and its employees.
What’s Included in a Corporate Wellness Solution?
Across America, 16 million people are living with smoking-related diseases. Across the world, 7 million people die a year because of tobacco use. More than 480,000 smokers die and 41,000 people die as a result of inhaling other people’s smoke in the United States each year.
It’s not surprising that many organizations see smoking cessation as good for individuals. It’s good for business too. Organizations bear some of the cost of the $170 billion medical costs and $156 billion in lost productivity.
As well as smoking cessation, corporate wellness solutions can include a wide range of interventions.
- Education in nutrition and exercise
- Provision of fitness facilities such as a gym
- Yoga and meditation training
- Healthy food options in employee restaurants
- Removable of junk food from vending machines
- Health screening
Working with a wellness corporate solutions company can open up a whole range of opportunities. You can make a positive impact on employee wellbeing.
The potential benefits are myriad. This is why so many organizations are treating it as a necessity and not a corporate luxury. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a wellness corporate solutions company.
1Improved Employee Health
A broad-based employee wellness program can have a positive impact on the health of employees.
That health can be intellectual, emotional and physical. It can also be social, vocational, environmental, financial and even spiritual health. These dimensions of wellness are about living life to the full.
A lifestyle approach to wellness is about reducing risk factors. So, smoking cessation is a prime example of such a risk factor.
A wellness program can promote healthy lifestyle choices. Abstaining from smoking, a healthy diet, reduced alcohol consumption, and regular exercise.
The result for the individual employee is better health. Longer life and greater quality of life.
Individuals will report higher levels of energy, lower anxiety, and depression. They’ll have better cardiovascular performance and better engagement with life’s activities including work.
2Reduce Lifestyle Related Diseases
Higher levels of employee health may result in a series of positive outcomes but they also result in fewer negative ones too. Lifestyle-related diseases can fall with a corporate wellness program.
The nature of lifestyle-related diseases is that the behaviors that produce them are difficult to change. Corporate programs help to change these difficult habits and behaviors in a way that is hard to achieve by individual action. Even if individuals know what changes would be good for their health, maintaining motivation is difficult.
Learning and acting together with others is a proven way of sustaining a lifestyle change. A corporate program can bring people together to sustain their behavior change. The social pressure and mutual support help do this.
The result is fewer smoking-related diseases. Less obesity and cardiovascular disease. Fewer mental health issues.
The business impact of healthy and disease-free employees is obvious.
3Reduce Employee Absence
Reducing employee absences due to illness may be a sensible first target when introducing a wellness solution. The top reasons for absence are pretty consistent. Minor illnesses such as colds, stress-related reasons, and musculoskeletal injuries.
Reduce minor illnesses by activities that boost the immune system. Smoking cessation is likely to be the prime option but exercise, improved diet, and weight loss are also important.
Stress-related absences fall with better general health through exercise and diet. Mindfulness practice such as meditation and yoga help reduce anxiety and depression. These are common symptoms of stress.
Exercise and weight loss can lead to better musculoskeletal health. Pilates can improve core strength and this can reduce back injury and pain.
As many doctors will testify, back pain can sometimes be a surrogate for other stress-related issues. Mindfulness and improved psychological health may be better than physical treatments.
All these interventions can reduce the reason for employee absence. These means you have more continuity with less disruption. The result is a boost to productivity.
Employee engagement is an alignment between employer and employee goals. This mutuality results in employees using their discretionary effort to support the organization. For many organizations mobilizing discretionary effort is the holy grail of engagement programs.
Having people so committed to the organization that they will continue to work for it even when they are not paid for it is a valuable resource. With that commitment, they work on problems at home. They turn up at work early or stay late to help when there is a crisis.
These people are getting more from their work than their pay. They have a sense of purpose. They have an interest in supporting the organization to a level that is above and beyond their contractual relationship.
An organization that saves your life through a wellness program might be able to elicit that kind of response. If employees value the wellness program it becomes part of the reason they want to work for the organization, stay with it, and make it successful. Their employment package includes wellness solutions alongside their pay and conditions.
5Meet Employee Expectations
Employees want more from their working life than pay and pension. Generation Y expect ethical conduct from organizations that the previous generations never expected. The ethics of caring for employees is up there with care for consumers, supply chains, communities, and the environment.
These are times when organizations are competing for talent. A reputation for caring for the wellness of employees might make the difference between securing the best talent and failing to attract them. Potential employees can see how well you do this by checking out Glassdoor, the TripAdvisor of the employment market.
Failing to compete for the employees who want a gym on site or shower facilities for people who cycle to work has a downside. You’ll have to offer higher salaries or expect higher employee turnover than your competitors. A great wellness package could be a source of competitive advantage.
6Increase Employee Flexibility
Engaged employees are more flexible than those that are not. Being light on your feet and responsive to customers depends on flexible, adaptable employees.
When communication is instant, the scale is less important, it’s the speed of action that is the key to success. Employees who are resilient and can take pressure without getting stressed become a powerful resource. Good physical and mental health helps build that resilience.
Employees that are fit and well are more productive than those that are not. This is something that we know but it’s backed up by research too. Higher levels of energy, less absence and illness as well as greater engagement all contribute.
Higher employee productivity is measurable. A cost-benefit analysis will establish a return on investment for the employee wellness program. The financial case is an easy one to make.
8Establish a Positive Culture
Wellness programs can be fun. Engaging in physical activity together such as a park run or a yoga class bring people together and is enjoyable. This is positive for relationships and for the corporate culture.
A positive culture is difficult to establish but this is one of the ways you can do it. It’s not enough to tell people to be positive. It has to be the natural expression of happy people having fun.
A positive culture is an open one, a confident one and one that engages with challenges and change.
9Improving Mental Health
Wellness programs that recognize that mental health as important can help reduce mental illness at work. The range of solutions includes counseling and other therapies. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi are very popular too.
10Reduce Workplace Stress
Associated with solutions that improve mental health are those for work-related stress. These can consist of skills-based training. Typical topics include time management, personal effectiveness, assertiveness, and work-life balance.
Some work cultures are not conducive to a healthy work-life balance. Being present at work seems more important than being productive. Sometimes senior executives can model the appropriate behavior.
Improved workplace stress management can reduce absence, improve productivity, employee retention and engagement.
11Build a Team
Positive and fun workplace activity can promote a team spirit. Shared exercise through sport can be team based and promote cooperation and good relations.
Sometimes the relationships start on the basketball court or in the step class. These can lead to collaboration between individuals and different departments in a work context.
It’s easy to see why playing together makes working together easier. The model for collaborating and coordinating is in the field of sport. That guy in IT who appears to be remote and unapproachable can become a friend and ally through team sports.
This sense of community and share experienced is a powerful one. It’s one that organizations try to establish with team development activities but is hard to sustain. It can come almost as a byproduct of a wellness program.
12Improve Financial Performance
The human and team impact of wellness solutions may be easy to establish but would the chief financial officer feel as convinced? What is the impact on the bottom line?
We’ve already established some key business results. Improved health and less sickness reduce health costs and the cost of absences. Better employee engagement, retention, flexibility and resilience increases productivity.
You can attract the best talent when your wellness program makes your organization a great place to work. All this has a positive impact on sales, costs, and profitability.
The Case for Wellness Corporate Solutions
The investment in wellness has a business case but it’s important to do it right. Half-baked wellness inputs can appear to a good idea but it’s vital that they are effective. Many organizations have subscribed to an occasional fun run or company sports day without a clear idea about what they hoped to achieve.
Getting professional competent advice from a wellness corporate solutions company is a good place to start. With their help do some diagnostic work to identify needs. Have a program designed to meet those needs and measure the results.
Talk to us about your wellness solution.