Workplace wellness is not a new idea. Organisations have offered wellness programmes for years, but these have traditionally been focused on reducing illness, encouraging people to quit smoking, eat well, and exercise more.
The latest wave of wellness initiatives, led by giants like Google and Apple, is taking a more holistic approach to health and encouraging people to take care of their mental and emotional health as much as their physical fitness. These schemes aren't simply about getting people to meditate during their lunch break. The focus is on creating an environment and work processes that are conducive to good health.
Why are organisations investing in their employees' wellbeing? There seem to be a few drivers behind the latest push for wellbeing.
Happy employees are more likely to stay. If people find that their work is fulfilling, enjoyable and not damaging to their physical, mental or emotional health, then they have fewer reasons to leave. Organisations that succeed at retaining employees save money and time on recruitment, and also enjoy the advantage of retained knowledge and skills – not to mention the continuity of service and a greater sense of community.
Your reputation as an employer counts for a lot. And in a competitive hiring market, that reputation could be the difference between attracting the best people – or vacant seats.
Job seekers are looking for more than financial rewards. They consider the complete package, including benefits and workplace environment. If you can't tell a positive story about the long-term wellness of your colleagues, you may lose top recruits to your rivals.
Productivity and sustainability
If your employees are healthy and happy, they are more likely to be ready for work. Conversely, people who are struggling with mental, physical or emotional health issues are likely to be distracted while at work – if not absent entirely.
By giving people the tools to maintain all aspects of their health, you can improve their chances of working effectively. It's also important to create an environment in which all health issues can be discussed, and the connections between work and wellbeing are accepted openly.
Insurers value wellness
From a purely financial perspective, insurance companies may offer lower rates to companies that care for their employees' wellbeing.
Has your organisation implemented a well-being programme? If not, what barriers are standing in your way?