4 Reasons Why Corporate Wellness Is Key To Achieve A Healthy Work-Life Balance
You work until late, grab an Uber, and eat something quickly because you can’t face cooking. You then watch a snippet of Netflix before falling asleep and starting it all again the next day. You are so tired that exercise and healthy eating seem like distant memories, just like the prospect of free time or a social life.
With 91 per cent of employees working far more than 40 hours a week just to stay on top of the workload, this situation is all too common for modern-day professionals. However, in an age when working insane hours is put on a pedestal — Tesla boss Elon Musk said last year he worked 100 hours a week — it’s important to understand the toll this limited work-life balance has on workers. Hint: it can actually lower life expectancy.
An appropriate balance between work and life is essential for productivity. The happier and healthier employees are, the better they perform — in fact, happy employees are 12 percent more productive. So apart from fostering a more positive office environment, there’s plenty of reasons why employees and employers alike should recognize corporate wellness as an important tool for success. Here are some things to consider:
1. Wellness programs are backed by research
Wellness programs are implemented by employers to encourage workers to be healthier and happier. They might include collaborative quit-smoking programs, or help with setting positive lifestyle goals. The programs often feature discounted gym memberships, group weight loss initiatives, or simply encourage workers to go off-site for a few hours to do something fun and active. Online retailer Zappos, for example, takes employees from different departments for 1-hour trampoline and laser tag sessions.
And the results? Overall, they’re pretty impressive. A meta-evaluation of 62 studies on the financial impact of workplace wellness programs found them to be one of the “most effective strategies for reducing medical costs and absenteeism”, as they lowered sick leave, employees’ compensation and health plan costs by 25 percent.
2. Healthy weight people take fewer sick days
The less time an employee takes off work, the more they’re able to spend more time adding value to the company. Organisations don’t have to foot the bill for overtime costs to cover absences or pay to train new employees.
But while an average-weight male misses about three workdays a year from being sick, overweight or obese men miss five days — a 56 percent increase in time off, according to the CDC. Obesity is said to cost American companies 73.1 billion per year in medical expenses and lost productivity. So overall, it pays to help employees stay healthy.
University of Rochester researchers studied almost 4000 individuals over two years and found the programs reduced the number of people considered obese or overweight by 9 percent. For a team of 100 employees, that’s about 50 less sick days a year.
3. The programs reduce stress
Some of the world’s top companies have implemented meditation into their workplaces. Google hosts the Search Inside Yourself course to teach employees about emotional intelligence and mindfulness, and General Mills have been helping workers to practice since the early 2000s — it’s something employees say helps to refine their emotional skills, focus better on tasks, and reduce stress.
While stress reduction can come from activities outside of meditation — from learning how to take breaks, or joining a group to walk at lunchtime — many companies are seeing how valuable taking team-wide stress-reduction upon their shoulders is. Stress-free employees are happier, and hence it’s safe to assume this leads them to be more productive, motivated and innovative, too. And you guessed it: it makes them less likely to call in sick.
Employees are almost x5 more likely to call in sick when they had problems with coworkers and x4 more likely to do so when they’ve had problems with a boss. But a Harvard University study that reviewed 36 corporate wellness programs found that for every dollar spent, the company saved about $2.73 on absentee related costs. So hiring that yoga instructor might be worth it, after all.
4. The programs reduce long-term illness
It’s no secret that an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to long-term illness. Obesity can induce diabetes, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems, among other things. Stress can lead to heart diseases and strokes. And a 2015 study concluded that chronic diseases — including diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, cancer, and others — result in 28.2 million workdays lost annually, and $4.95 billion in lost income.
But introducing a well-planned and implemented corporate wellness program will curb illness and bring tangible results. Employees will be healthier, more energetic, better able to handle stress — and all in all, ready to take on the day. So next time you hear a co-worker’s resorted to eating a frozen T.V. dinner for the fourth time this week, it’s time to bolster down and start the discussion about corporate wellness.
The offer is valid until June 15, 2017.