What Is Workplace Wellness? 4 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to It

Why are more and more employers putting emphasis on workplace wellness? Learn the importance of improving your employees’ wellbeing.

August 3, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

Workplace wellness has never been more important than today. Since the pandemic affected the world of work, we see employees and employers alike paying more attention to physical and mental health and wellbeing.

However, workplace wellness was not an unknown term before 2020. Some companies realized long ago how beneficial employee wellness programs can be. For example, Johnson & Johnson estimated that between 2002 and 2008, the ROI of their wellness programs was $2.71 for every dollar spent.

🧘🏽 In this article, you will learn the definition of workplace wellness and find out why exactly is it important to promote it in your organization.

What Is Workplace Wellness

When somebody talks about workplace wellness, they are talking about a company’s ability to support and increase physical and mental wellbeing of its employees. Workplace wellness is synonymous with employee wellbeing.

Workplace wellness is reflected in the wellness benefits and programs in the company, as well as the percentage of employees utilizing those same benefits and programs. Moreover, company policies, team relationships, and company culture greatly affect workplace wellness.

Why Every Company Needs to Maximize Their Workplace Wellness Efforts

Many companies already have workplace wellness programs in mind. However, Gallup’s research shows that only 24% of employees at companies that offer a wellness program participate in it.

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Employees’ physical and mental health is more endangered than ever. Take a look at these shocking statistics to understand why organizations should offer more workplace wellness options.

Employees are stressed out

90% of employees say their workplace stress affects their mental health, yet 3 out of 5 workers do not receive proper managerial support to help them manage stress. Moreover, 25% of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.

The fact that so many people are stressing over their work is alarming to say the least. As we all know how negatively stress can impact our health, lives, and job performance – employers should take note and offer more workplace wellness benefits.

🧘🏽 Find out what are the top ways to reduce workplace stress.

Anxiety is on the rise

A Harvard Business Review study shows that half of Millennials have left a job due to mental health reasons, as well as 75% of Gen Z workers. 

It is important to note that Millennials and Gen Z are soon going to comprise most of the world’s workforce. In general, anxiety and depression have never been more present than in these age groups, and employers will need to cater to these specific needs.

Moreover, unexpected events like COVID are endangering workplace wellness by inducing uncertainty and anxiety. 

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Increased risk of illnesses

Unfortunately, not only mental workplace wellness is endangered in the contemporary world of work. As our lifestyles become more sedentary, the risk of coronary, spinal, and other disorders only increases.

According to research, almost 50% of women and 33% of men in the UK spend less than half an hour daily on their feet. Moreover, 64% of adults in the UK are classified as overweight or obese, which is costing the economy around £47 annually.

In other words, employee health is seriously endangered, which is also causing an increase in healthcare costs.

On the verge of burnout

A whopping 52% of employees are experiencing burnout in 2021. Even though burnout is not a new occurrence, more and more workers are experiencing it.

With increased overload and more than 50% of employees working for more than 50 hours per week, the need for applying workplace wellness best practices is obvious.

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How to Improve Workplace Wellness

Here is a million dollar question: what can organizations do to improve workplace wellness? As shown before, many companies already have workplace wellness programs in place, but they are not used by employees. This is probably due to culture or lack of communication about the programs – or maybe some wellness benefits are not that attractive to employees.

Here are effective ways to improve workplace wellness in your company.

Assess your employee benefits package

Are you including workplace wellness benefits in your total rewards strategy? Moreover, are you sure that the specific benefits you offer are attractive to your employees?

Top three most popular employee benefits include better health insurance, more flexible hours, and more vacation time. Accidentally or not, all these are workplace wellness benefits.

workplace wellness

Flexible and remote work options are a great way to increase workplace wellness. Hybrid work models are desired by many, and they can also help employers increase workplace safety and lower the health risks for employees.

Other benefits you could include in your package are gym memberships, meal allowances, therapy lessons, and more. 

Engage your managers

Managers are crucial for their employees’ engagement – they account for 70% of it. Furthermore, managers are uniquely positioned to communicate, support, and encourage employees in utilizing company’s workplace wellness policies.

However, managers must also lead by example. The problem is that most managers are promoted into their roles without adequate training. As managers’ job takes more leadership skills than operational experience, companies must ensure adequate training and development for team leaders.

🧘🏽 Learn which of these eight management styles would be most conducive to improving workplace wellness in your organization.

Embed wellness in your culture

Unfortunately, a lot of workplace wellness failures can be attributed to workplace culture. In 2015, Deloitte’s study found that 33% of employees do not feel comfortable taking vacation time. Yet, it is one of the most popular benefits out there.

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Why is this so? Employers have even started offering unlimited PTO, but most employees are just not using it. However, this is the case in the US. On the other hand, there is a minimum statutory leave in European countries.

Therefore, maybe a lesson for US companies is to introduce mandatory annual PTO days. However, the change needs to come from the top. Leaders and managers must be the first ones to take sufficient vacation time and keep healthy work-life balance so others can follow.

Communicate effectively 

There are three key points to note regarding effective communication about workplace wellness:

  1. Take employee surveys. Ask employees what they really want – which benefits would they find most useful to increase their workplace wellness? What are their ideas? What affects their wellbeing the most, and what can you do to minimize their stress?
  2. Communicate your workplace wellness policies and updates. You can include the information on new policies or perks in your employee newsletter or blast it across internal communication channels.
  3. Improve your overall employee communication. Ineffective communication causes stress for 80% of employees. Yet, many companies are struggling to apply the best employee communication methods, decrease informational overload, and intensify collaboration.

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🧘🏽 Learn how to build your internal communications strategy.

Talk about work-life balance

According to research, 73% of workers state lack of separation between work and home and unmanageable workloads as top reasons for burnout.

Indeed, work-life balance is a huge part of workplace wellness. The line between work and private life is even more blurry for remote workers, and it is why optimizing work-life balance should be employers’ priority.

How Workplace Wellness Impacts Employees and Businesses

If you believe that employers are changing their organization’s benefits and policies only to meet their employees’ wishes, you could not be more wrong. Optimizing workplace wellness has numerous benefits for the organizations, stemming from healthier and more engaged employees.

What are the exact ways in which workplace wellness impacts employees and businesses?

Decreased absenteeism and healthcare costs

70% of employers say that employees’ poor health habits represent a challenge for controlling rising healthcare costs. As healthcare costs are increasing year over year, it is good to try to prevent most common illnesses that cause them. 

However, employers should consider implementing workplace wellness policies and benefits as a long-term strategy, not something that will pay off right away.

Improved productivity and performance

Did you know that 84% of direct effects on productivity loss can be attributed to mental and physical health?

workplace wellness

You are probably aware of how crucial employee productivity is for performance; and how employee performance impacts overall business success. Therefore, there is no doubt that taking care of workplace wellness will positively impact overall organizational output.

Better resilience

In a world where stress can be found at every corner, equipping your employees with resilience techniques pays off. Not only will it benefit your business, it will also give employees valuable insights into handling private matters.

This is exactly why psychological therapy is one of the best methods for improving employee wellbeing and workplace wellness.

 

However, taking a holistic approach to workplace wellness is best, as it heightens chances of improving your company culture and employee experience along the way. 

Therefore, get in touch with our representatives to learn how our employee experience platform can help you optimize workplace wellness, enhance employee productivity and satisfaction, and increase employee retention.

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