Why Corporate Wellness Works
How investing in employee health raises the bar on productivity.
It’s no secret that industry leaders and Silicon Valley startups offer some of the best employee perks around. From in-house yoga classes to smoothie bars, they give employees more than just a day at the spa. These progressive companies are establishing a culture of wellness within their enterprise that encourages healthy behavior. Why? Because they know it pays off.
It’s hard to perform well when you’re stressed.
Research shows a close relationship between employee productivity and their overall health. Employees who maintain healthy lifestyles are more engaged, miss less work, and perform above the average. Companies that utilize the intrinsic motivation behind healthy living easily reap the rewards.
Healthy employees are better employees.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who eat healthful food are 25% more likely to have higher job performance. This is because maintaining healthy habits does more than keep your weight down. Fruits and vegetables provide the essential nutrients your body needs to function at peak performance. Employees who eat fresh produce are better equipped to face the challenges of the day and achieve long term goals.
The Triple Bottom Line
As corporate social responsibility becomes increasingly important, forward-thinking companies are looking to make a difference. Employee wellness programs support personal development with more than just profits in mind. The idea of triple bottom line refers to a business framework committed to “people, planet, and profit”. Together, these factors form a broader perspective of business value while supporting global sustainability. Successful wellness programs fit the bill by reducing overall healthcare costs and cutting productivity loss from health-related absenteeism. The CDC estimates these factors contribute to $225.8 billion in lost revenue each year. Because of this, employers are increasingly turning to employee wellness as a triple bottom line solution to sustainable growth.
Where to begin?
There are countless ways to establish a wellness initiative in the workplace, it can be hard to know where to start. Since every business environment is unique the first step is to asses the needs and interests of the employees. This can be done through interviews, polling, surveys, and roundtable discussions. Ask employees what “wellness” means to them and if they have any specific goals of their own. Fill out the CDC’s “Worksite Health ScoreCard” to assess any current initiatives as well as identify gaps for improvement.
After a thorough evaluation, develop wellness goals that are clear and attainable. Goals should be specific and time-driven, with built-in objectives to easily measure progress. Examples of possible goals include:
- Reduce employee sick-days by 5% in the fiscal year 2018.
- Increase the number of employees attending wellness events by 15% in the third quarter of 2018.
- Reduce the number of employees who smoke by 10% by the first quarter of 2019.
Once specific goals are set, design and implement the program to the workforce. Effective marketing will help engage employees and gain program participation. Consider introducing the wellness initiative with an exciting event that promotes healthy living. Additionally, many corporations choose to offer incentives to motivate employees towards healthier lifestyles. Depending on the workplace, these rewards could take the form of prizes, money, or special privileges. As time goes on, be sure to maintain employee interest with relevant marketing and regular events.
Following the adoption of a new wellness initiative, it is important to evaluate the program’s success. Whether measured by participation rate or the number of goals met, each program should compare outcomes to a baseline set before implementation. Use the “Worksite Health ScoreCard” to evaluate a program’s effectiveness over time. This information, as well as input from employees, will help identify successes and pinpoint where improvement is needed.
These initial steps to developing a wellness program should serve as a guide to further research. Every organization has the ability to improve the health and productivity of their workforce through effective wellness initiatives. Investing in employee health ensures viable returns for both people and profits alike. As a triple bottom line approach to success, what’s not to love?
Product Champion and Food, Garden, and Sustainability Writer for Alfrea
Alfrea cultivates healthy workplaces and communities through the power of fresh food, offering farm-to-workplace delivery and customized wellness packages that educate and engage employees.
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Contact us to find out how Alfrea can help you meet your wellness goals.