After all these years, why is it that workplace wellness matters now?
It actually has, it’s just that we are finally realising the figures to back it up. Workplace Wellness is finally being recognised with the importance it deserves. Long gone are the days that a weekly fruit basket and exercise session equates to a workplace wellness program!
There is now a realisation that while health is a personal responsibility, it is also a social, professional and community responsibility to provide an external environment in which people can thrive, not simply survive.
Workplace Wellness is the ability to provide real solutions for people within the organisation, to have the best possible environment in which they work (either via the office or distance) to ensure that both your team members and the organisation can be the best they can be, and provide the best solutions, products or results for customers, clients, partners and the community.
4 Reasons Why Workplace Wellness Matters
We know that while the fruit basket and exercise sessions placed a feel good band aid on any workplace health and wellness, the outcomes with a workplace wellness plan that is strategic, outcome focused and results based provides a return on investment in more ways than one.
1. Healthy team members take less sick days.
This alone will impact productivity and ensure an ROI. “Businesses with more engaged employees because the company offered wellbeing support reported almost 40% less absenteeism and 65% lower turnover”. Yet another reason why workplace wellness matters. When a workplace wellness program is strategic in its application and properly managed to ensure long term and sustainable success, there is no end to the results it provides.
2. Healthy team members means that they also have fewer accidents, a major consideration for many organisations. Having greater clarity and focus on the job is a great outcome for any organisation. Research shows that “Every two days in Australia, a man will go to work and never come home.“. Now this is not only related to men, though the figure shown is clearly shocking and something we all know needs to be addressed.
Accidents can happen for any reason, including fatigue, lighting, stress, lifting, and trips and falls to name a few.
This is surely one of the most vital reasons workplace wellness matters. We may not be able to stop all accidents, but those that happen due to stress, fatigue, a foggy mind and burnout can be at the very least helped as we make inroads into lowering those figures.
3. Healthy team members are less stressed and learn to handle stress in a more productive way, enabling them to react less and respond more. This also brings in greater team coherence, within teams and through other internal and external departments. Burnout is real and has only been exacerbated over the last few years. “A slow downhill quality of life and health are often signs of burnout“, this includes the ability to be engaged at work, be productive in any real way and to show up fully throughout the day.
“When it comes to their business and employee’s health, high–stress levels are reported as the number one concern of almost half of all small-business owners“. There are an endless amount of figures showing us how much workplace wellness matters, so the question must be, if you don’t have an effective workplace wellness program, why not?
4. A healthy team is an engaged team. Higher engagement results in greater productivity, a positive corporate culture and longer term retention of team members.
We know that turnover is one of any organisations highest expense. Training and re-training, losing the knowledge that long term team members have and the cost of hiring are positively impacted by a workplace wellness program designed with strategy and day to day actions steps that create real change at every level.
One study showed “Employee engagement increases productivity to the tune of 21% higher profits each year. Would any organisation not want that kind of ROI ? An investment in workplace wellness is not a fluffy feel good factor anymore, it provides measurable and noticeable improvements in every area of the organisation. It’s simple, workplace wellness matters.
Why isn’t Workplace Wellness In Every Organisation?
We still have a long way to go with our leaders understanding not only the importance of a workplace wellness program, but the way in which the program is delivered. Much of the old information, the old ways of doing things still lingers and the fruit basket (while still beneficial on a surface level) is still thought to be what workplace wellness is.
We are still a world focused on treating symptoms instead of prevention. This is a costly mistake for not only an organisation, but for our larger community. The cost of chronic illness and symptomatic relief is enormous compared to using preventable measures.
We need to educate people on the benefits of health. We are still lagging behind in the understanding of what real health looks like and the benefits of this for each individual and the organisation.
Organisations have been reluctant to invest in a workplace wellness program because there is a lack of understanding of just how high the ROI can be.
Imagine having a workplace where team members engage, absenteeism and turnover is low, there is a great company culture, people want to go to work and create, team members are switched on, want to contribute to the outcomes and there is a genuine interest to work together toward the common goal. How could there not be a great ROI?
We often look to avoid change as it’s uncomfortable and we have been taught through the years that getting “healthy” if challenging, difficult and boring.
We have been taught that is much easier to let things just happen and if they do, the system we have in place will take care of us. Health is often given a low priority in the scheme of things, which, to me, seems quite backward.
Why would health come last, or be an afterthought, when the very creation and result you need for your organisation to be successful is directly impacted by the health of your team members?
Our leaders need to be at the forefront of workplace wellness and we need to ensure we provide this for our team members as a first port of call.