Employee Wellness and the Workplace

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Why Employee Wellness is Important

Employee Wellness is a hot topic. This should not come as a surprise, seeing as the average employee may spend around one-third of their lives at work.

In recent years, companies have been starting to take employee wellness more seriously. Organizations have begun employing a variety of Workplace Wellness programs and similar initiatives to increase employee health and happiness. The benefits of increased employee wellness extend not only to the employees, but to the companies themselves.

Healthy Employees are Productive Employees

The relationship between health and happiness has been a consistent area of study, with results generally concluding a positive relationship between health and happiness. Happiness, once achieved, produces higher levels of workplace productivity. Therefore, healthier employees are both happier and more productive.

The relationship between employee health and productivity spells out obvious benefits to employers. Not only are happy employees likely to be more productive, they are also more likely to stay at their job, reducing the time and materials spent on recruitment and loss in company productivity by loss of key employees.

Employee Wellness Reduces Healthcare Cost

Once employers take initiative to increase company wellness, they are put in a position to experience major savings related to employee healthcare costs – and as a result, health insurance as well.

The CDC states that chronic illnesses account for around 75% of healthcare costs. Chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are among the most costly illnesses, but also the most preventable. Disease prevention initiatives, such as company-wide fitness goals or introducing tobacco-free company property can do a world of good.  By making disease prevention initiatives a part of your company culture, you are priming your organization to save thousands in healthcare costs every year, while taking care of your employees at the same time. Measures to increase employee wellness may also result in less distribution of sick pay and less pressure on employees at work to pick up the slack of coworkers who are out sick.

Start with Small Goals

Small steps that lead to a bigger overall goal are a great place to start when it comes to increasing company wellness:

Encourage movement, even if it’s just a daily walk around the office

Instead of holding your meetings around a conference table, take your employees on a walk and talk

Provide healthy food and beverage choices instead of sugary soft drinks and sweet snacks in the company vending machine

Consider a ban on smoking and tobacco use for all company employees while on company property

Take the time to provide education to your employees on the importance of health and wellness

An employee wellness movement is a long-term solution, not a quick fix. Any initiative to increase employee wellness should operate under the understanding that lasting healthcare cost reduction will be a long-term goal.