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Employee Wellness – An Economic Issue

Guest Blog by Jackie Ward of Towards Better Living

Wellness in the workplace is not about feeling warm and fuzzy towards your staff, it’s about the economics of your business.

Like most companies, I expect you measure how well your business is doing in pounds, profit and cash flow. However, have you ever thought about measuring the blood pressure, weight and stress levels of the people working for you? Those assets of yours that maintain the health of your business – the life-blood of your organisation that provides for you, your family and theirs?

Absenteeism

The costs of absenteeism are well documented with sick days costing employers about £16.8 billion in 2009.

Norwich Union Healthcare published a study back in 2001, showing that the average employee was off work sick for almost 7 days each year. Recent reports suggest that this has reduced due to the recession, as people are desperate to keep their jobs – but does this add to the stress and the problems associated with presenteeism?

Presenteeism

Just because people are at work, it doesn’t mean that they are in the best of health or working at their best. People who are stressed, tired, dehydrated or generally unfit are potentially a burden to your company.

Presenteeism is harder to quantify, but the cost of employees being present and not working at their full capacity, or, worse still, causing problems or errors whilst at work, is always going to be higher than absenteeism. What would be the benefits to your business if everyone at work was at their most alert and productive?

I strongly believe that as employers, when we educate, encourage and motivate our employees to take better care of their health, there are real cost savings due to:

• improved attendance

• increased productivity

• improved health and safety resulting in fewer work-related accidents

• employee engagement

• employee retention

A compelling case is now being made for the implementation of wellness programmes as a route to increased profitability. In fact, although more study is needed, well-being programmes are already bringing in estimated returns of between £1.66 and £4.00 for every £1.00 spent.

Wellness Programmes

Wellness programmes can range from the simple and low-cost options such as buying in water coolers and promoting good hydration, to half-day wellness workshops with a Health Consultant, or to a more comprehensive programme of training sessions and events, covering a range of health topics.

What Now?

Employee ‘wellness’ and ‘presenteeism’ may be totally new concepts to you, or the ‘health’ of your employees may have been a concern to you for some time – whatever your situation, the important first step is to look at the direct and indirect costs associated with the health and wellness of your people.

If you would like to talk through different options and find out which ones would be most suitable for you and your organisation, please give me a call for a no-obligation, confidential discussion on :07966 155572.

Jackie Ward, Towards Better Living

Jackie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to assist you and your organisation in your quest for greater profits through better health.

As an ex-nurse and someone who has studied nutrition and weight management, Jackie focuses her attention on helping to preserve and improve health, rather than look after illness and its consequences.

Jackie is also a qualified clinical hypnotherapist and brings knowledge and understanding of both the physical and emotional aspects of health.

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  1. ghislaine says:

    Jackie makes some great points in this article. Having worked in HR in both the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS I know that a lot of employee re-education is needed. Not least because many employees see sick absence as part of their holiday entitlement!

    More and more companies today are seeing the validity of having a work health and wellness programme

    • Kay Heald says:

      Ghislaine, I think you’re right – there’s a lot of re-learning that needs to happen within the arena of employee health – the employers who look at wellness as well as sickness, will be ahead of the game!

2 responses to “Employee Wellness – An Economic Issue”

  1. ghislaine says:

    Jackie makes some great points in this article. Having worked in HR in both the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS I know that a lot of employee re-education is needed. Not least because many employees see sick absence as part of their holiday entitlement!

    More and more companies today are seeing the validity of having a work health and wellness programme

    • Kay Heald says:

      Ghislaine, I think you’re right – there’s a lot of re-learning that needs to happen within the arena of employee health – the employers who look at wellness as well as sickness, will be ahead of the game!