A corporate wellbeing programme for employees is a mutually beneficial scheme for workers and employers.
Prioritising employee wellbeing spotlights the importance of positive mental health and wellness for workers, and improves employees quality of life impacting their performance and the bottom line.
Focus on employee wellbeing is now more important than ever with 74% of employees stating that knowing their employer is committed to wellbeing would make them more motivated at work. Additionally, research by BMG found that levels of employee engagement increase by 31% points amongst employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.
What does wellbeing mean?
Wellbeing is defined by the UK Department of Health as feeling good and functioning well, and comprises each individual’s experience of their life and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values. Wellbeing can be both subjective and objective.
The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working. Poor employee wellbeing can be due to factors internal or external to the workplace and, without effective management, can seriously impact employees’ health, productivity, career prospects and wider health.
The costs to business of stress and poor health, particularly in terms of absenteeism and low productivity, are huge. A report by the Government’s Health and Safety Executive found that in 2018/2019, 12.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Furthermore in stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health. Research published by the Centre for Mental Health found that the business cost of poor mental health is now £34.9 billion, this means that mental health problems cost £1,300 for every employee in the UK economy.
While there is increasing awareness of the impacts of poor employee mental health, there often remains a disconnect between employers’ intentions and perceptions and what is actually happening in the workplace.
The benefits of a corporate wellbeing programme include:
Improved performance: With a study by BMG finding that only 2 in 5 employees are working at peak performance and, on average, presenteeism costs businesses £605 per person each year; companies that take employee wellness seriously notice a significant improvement in the performance of their employees. Meaningfully integrating wellbeing into a workplace can help employees feel more engaged. Discussing how tasks will be achieved rather than just setting employees tasks to complete can help stop burn-out and stress before it begins. Training managers to help employees with their emotional health as part of your corporate wellbeing programme creates a culture where healthier and more collaborative ways of working become the norm.
Increased staff retention rates: A study by Westfield Health found that businesses who manage health and wellbeing properly are four times more likely to retain employees than those who don’t. Research has found that it takes 8 to 26 weeks for a new employee to achieve full productivity. Maintaining existing staff improves companies output, and reduces the hours management must put into hiring. Another study by Glassdoor, the average company in the United States spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee, taking up to 52 days to fill a position. Every employee you retain, saves your business money long term.
Quick to implement and effective benefits for your corporate wellbeing programme
Introducing a corporate wellbeing programme isn’t about dramatic change. For many issues on the corporate wellness agenda, change can occur at a more incremental pace. However, there are policies you can introduce to your corporate wellbeing programme in 2020 that may have a quick positive impact on employees overall health and quality of life.
Add wellbeing into performance management templates, so it’s automatically part of the conversation in regular catch-ups between managers and staff. Employees will feel valued and wellbeing will become part of the culture, rather than a topic that is only discussed when there is an issue.
Over two-thirds of employees (67%) believe its an employers responsibility to support their physical wellbeing. For an employee to thrive physically, they must understand and manage their health. Employers can improve staff wellbeing by encouraging them to take appropriate preventive measures such as walks at lunch time, add a discounted or free gym membership, and centre team building activities around physical activity instead of boozy lunches.
Educating employees around stress management can be a simple way to prevent staff burnout. Whilst many people turn to alcohol to help them relax and unwind after a stressful day, it is not an effective coping mechanism. Although the first glass might feel relaxing, alcohol can actually increase feelings of stress and anxiety, rather than help us to truly unwind after work. Alcohol upsets the chemical balance in the brain – it’s a depressant. Alcohol can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression and make stress harder to deal with. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
As part of a corporate wellbeing programme, employers can help their staff manage stress effectively by enabling them to find coping mechanisms that enhance their lives and help relieve their stress long term; rather than using alcohol as a temporary solution. Working through a programme like One Year No Beer is a brilliant way to help employees change their relationship with alcohol, and work towards greater overall health.
Be a wellness champion
Corporate wellbeing programmes are becoming an expectation, not a perk, for prospective employees. With 77% of workers having experienced symptoms of poor mental health in their lives, finding an employer who prioritises their wellness is increasingly important. Making a corporate wellbeing programme top of your agenda for 2020 can help your staff improve their performance, retain more employees well as attracting the best talent and increase overall business output.