Workplace wellness is the number one area of investment and number one strategy for employers who want to cut costs, improve attendance and reap the benefits of a healthy workforce.
In 2016, workplace wellness programs reached an all-time peak with 84 percent of U.S. companies offering at least one form of wellness initiative. When your employees feel great physically, they will show increased engagement as well as increased productivity in the workplace.
What Workplace Wellness Initiatives Can Do for Your Business
Many employers are now realizing that the investments they make toward workplace wellness initiatives can produce significant gains and cost-savings for their companies. The costs of chronic disease, work related injuries, stress, and worker disengagement adds up to more than $2.2 trillion each year. If those costs could be recouped, even in part, by improving workplace wellness it could mean a lot more money back on the table, money that can be invested in growth initiatives or reinvested in employee benefits.
You don’t have to build a company gym, buy expensive workout equipment, hire personal trainers or necessarily even spend any money to contribute toward a healthier workplace. Nor does it have to be complicated. In fact, some of the most important things you can do are to make sure you have the basics covered.
Clean up your act.
Regularly cleaning, sanitizing, and purifying your office’s surfaces, air systems, floors, door handles, computer stations, and other components can drastically reduce the spread of germs, reducing both short term and chronic disease. Regularly cleaning and organizing will help alleviate dust in your office space and reduce the asthma attacks of your employees.
Make it fun.
Creating quarterly fitness challenges can improve teamwork and hypertension in your employees. Tracking these fitness challenges should be fun and engaging for your employees. Keeping a board in the break room can help employees stay motivated to achieve both group and individual goals.
Ensure proper training.
Work place injuries can be a sign that you need to revise or refresh staff training. For example, if you are the owner of a small business that sells decorative garden stones, proper training to avoid back strain injuries is imperative. If your training is video-based, enhance effectiveness by adding role play exercises to illustrate the proper way to lift boxes of garden stones using tools and a spotter. This way you can physically see that your employees are aware of the proper procedure to lift heavy boxes, create accountability among peers, and send the message that you truly care about the health and well-being of your staff. Consistent, interactive training can produce dramatic decreases in work place injuries.
Make sure people take breaks.
Stress and over-work is a big contributor to employee absences, low productivity, short term or even chronic health issues, and can result from employees feeling overwhelmed by work, exhausted, or when they are unclear on expectations.
While you can’t always control the amount of work on each employee’s plate, you can encourage employees to take regular breaks to refresh, recharge, or even rest. Formalizing or staggering break times can help ensure employees take the breaks they need, especially in workplaces where constant coverage is needed. Though it might sound counterproductive, giving employees time to reset can actually result in higher – not lower – productivity. Last but not least, don’t forget to make sure your employee break program is fully compliant with federal and local labor laws and any other union or corporate-specific requirements.
Employees can also be more productive when they clearly understand the work at hand, their responsibilities, departmental or corporate goals, and how their work impacts the company as a whole. Schedule short 1:1 meetings monthly (or more often) to enable employees to ask you any questions they may have about their projects. This can reduce or eliminate potential frustration with unclear expectations, help them work more efficiently, and will allow you to follow the progress of your employees without daily micromanaging.
Consistently doing these workplace “basics” can help lower the amount of money you spend each year related to employee disease, work place injuries, and disengagement. A few small initiatives such as the ones listed above can drastically improve the health of your team without taking an overwhelming amount of effort or laying out a huge investment.
Return on Investment (ROI) and Value on Investment (VOI) from Workplace Wellness
Employers will spend on average $650 on wellness based incentives, and 36 percent of employers offer incentives for their disease management programs. Companies that analyze workplace wellness ROI see as many as 93 percent of employees achieving positive gains. Here are some ways to invest in your employees’ wellness:
Physical Activity Programs and Discounts
73 percent of Americans work out once or more per week. To help encourage healthy habits, provide employees free or discounted memberships for local gyms, yoga and exercise studios, CrossFit training programs, etc.
Not all people work out the same way, so providing them with options can engage a wider range of your employees. Options also allow them to switch up their usual routine by trying a new workout style one if they wish. You don’t need to offer full reimbursement to your employees; even a little discount will let your employees know you believe health and wellness is important for your company. Even if you can’t afford to subsidize the cost, you may be able to negotiate group membership rates with a local facility.
Bring a nurse to your company (or arrange for employees to visit a local clinic) so employees can receive biometric screenings. The screenings provide an accurate baseline analysis regarding the current health status of an employee. In some cases, analyzing group data can even help your company save money on health insurance costs for employees. Biometric screenings can also help catch symptoms of chronic disease of your employees early on. For example, early signs of heart disease can often be prevented with simple changes in diet and exercise.
Take time to strategize how you want to incorporate wellness into your company. 28% of millennials note that wellness programs are “good to have” benefits of a company and could even be the deciding factor. Workplace wellness is becoming more and more of a focus for companies, so to stay competitive, make sure to incorporate health and wellness in your company strategy. It will bring in more business for your company short term and long term.
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