Things in the workplace are always changing.
Employers are certainly keeping busy; from learning new technology, to supporting evolving teams, to navigating changes in employee benefits regulations.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last few years is the rise of workplace employee wellness programs.
A wellness program is any program implemented by an employer to improve the health of its labour force. It can be in the form of staff training, employee seminars, or through a third-party provider with a range of programs meant to educate in the area of healthy lifestyle choices.
And while some of the biggest companies in the world have adopted a wellness program, many businesses are falling behind.
Your company ensures that its office equipment – such as your photocopier and your laser printer – has routine maintenance checks. Your computers are updated, de-fractured, and have the best antivirus software.
Maintenance of these assets is understood to be more efficient and cost-effective than replacement. Why then aren’t you providing a maintenance program for your employees?
Employees are your organization’s most valuable assets.
The costs associated with absenteeism, workers’ compensation claims, escalating group insurance premiums, and employee turnover can be a big hit to your bottom line.
Implementing an employee wellness program can help mitigate these costs by dealing with the issues at the source.
More and more employers are realizing that helping employees stay healthy is key to stronger and more profitable organizations. Therefore, promoting workplace wellness is one of best investments you can make.
What Employers Need to Know About Workplace Wellness
The average Canadian spends 60% of their waking hours at their job. That’s a good deal of time, and it gives you an great opportunity to educate them about wellness.
And statistics show Canadian workers have a real need for this knowledge.
Shockingly, about four in five Canadian adults have at least one risk factor for chronic disease, such as smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, or overuse of alcohol.
In addition, Statistics Canada reported that 40% of Canadians suffer from workplace stress. A strong wellness program can help mitigate these risks by bringing them to light, while providing practical solutions.
Additionally, the benefits for you as the employer are significant. Employee wellness programs help reduce:
- health care costs
- employee turnover
- sick leave and absenteeism
- short and long-term disability payments
- employee benefit costs
- worker’s compensation claims
As if that wasn’t enough, they can also help:
- attract the best talent to your company
- increase productivity and engagement
- increase employee satisfaction
We simply cannot emphasize the benefits of a corporate wellness program enough!
How are wellness programs different from Health and Safety programs?
Health and Safety Programs have a legal mandate that focuses on injury prevention. Conversely, the goal of corporate wellness programs is to create a healthy workplace, while supporting employees in making healthy lifestyle changes.
Are workplace wellness programs only for large companies?
The good news is, any size of business can adopt a wellness program, and there is no set-in-stone method on how to develop one. But before you do so, make sure it’s something your employees are interested in engaging with.
You can then choose the elements that work best for your employees and the business.
Here are just some of the elements you can include:
- Stress reduction programs
- Weight loss programs
- Quit-smoking programs
- Health risk assessments and health screenings
- Exercise programs and activities
- Nutrition education
In addition, you can ask your employees about any health or wellness challenges they are facing, and what type of program they would like to participate in.
Building the wellness program around the unique needs of your team will help both them and your organization get the most out of it.
Employee wellness is becoming more and more important as employers look for creative ways to take care of their teams and improve their bottom line.
Smart employers realize the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and that strong, healthy teams are more present, productive, and focused.
Furthermore, investing in a wellness program will save you significant health related-costs and position you as an employer of choice. Most importantly, your employees will be happier and healthier – creating a win-win situation for everyone.