Employee health and wellness affect more than merely just medical costs. A healthy workforce is a far more productive workforce. Unhealthy lifestyle choices usually lead to chronic diseases, which costs businesses billions of trillions of rands in lost productivity. What all of this means is that encouraging healthier behaviours and wellness can really pay off.
What Is Wellness?
The term ‘wellness’ covers physical as well as mental fitness. Over the past 30 or so years, wellness has grown as a concept in the workplace, concentrating on assisting employees with influencing their own health, quality of life, mental well-being and – as a result – their work performance in the workplace.
As such, employee wellness looks not merely at reducing absence from the workplace through illness. It also looks at how to proactively encourage as well as promote healthier lifestyles and attitudes.
Employee wellness takes a look at the individual and then encourages them to make healthy lifestyle choices, with the purpose of benefiting them as well as the culture in which they work. It broadly covers:
- Health promotion,
- The prevention of ill health, and
- The factors which help to determine how healthy someone is, in both body and mind.
Most of all, employee wellness is about enabling individuals to make better choices about their own health, in other words, to take control of it for their own benefit.
A Changing Attitude To Employee Wellness
In current times, there has been a noticeable shift in the way companies are approaching employee wellness programmes – employee wellness has turned into a major focus. This means that many businesses are beginning to invest more in comprehensive employee wellness programmes which aim to address work-life balance.
What Makes A Successful Employee Wellness Programme?
- Your employee wellness programme needs to be practical as well as accessible (a number of on-site employee health services).
- Employers must establish a health-conscious environment (such as healthy food options in the canteen, supportive messaging as well as healthy workspaces).
- The organisational structure should integrate employee health with employee wellness (comprehensive and compliant wellness programmes).
- Employee wellness should be linked to existing support benefits (employee assistance programmes (EAPs) help workers to deal with emotional, financial, legal or physical challenges).
- Health screenings and education (regular health awareness days) should be included in the programme that you put together.
There is a massive amount of research to support the benefits of wellness for employees. A comprehensive wellness programme will improve employee health as well as your organisation’s bottom line. It is not going to make all your problems go away but it will help you create a worksite culture of health. Your employee wellness programme will boost and maintain employee morale. With an effective wellness programme you will improve the lives of your employees and help drive the success of your organisation.
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