Employee Wellness: A Necessity, Not a Luxury, for Businesses Today
The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting are two post-pandemic phenomena that have totally changed the way smart companies view the subject of wellness. To put it simply, employees are stressed, burnt out, and tired of being taken for granted. Research by The American Institute of Stress shows that 83% of US workers experience work-related stress, leading to one million absences from work every day. The impact on the economy is sizeable. For instance, depression-induced absenteeism alone results in a $51 billion loss for businesses. Clearly, employee wellness is one of the best investments you can make—but where should you start?
In Search of a Bespoke Solution
In order to benefit your employees fully, you need to design a wellness program that benefits your company as well as your employees. The journey begins with finding out what your employees need—so you can create a customized program that ticks all the boxes. For instance, in some industries, smoking rates are higher than in others. If this is the case in your industry, offering employees free quit smoking programs and resources should be prioritized. If, on the other hand, you work in a high-stress sector, then a wellness program that includes wellness sessions (such as in-house yoga, free memberships at a gym, or mindfulness meditation workshops) will hit the sweet spot. Don’t rush into picking a program. It may take months before you can discuss the issue with employees, listen to suggestions, draft a budget, and make your final choices.
At the planning stage, take a look at what leading companies are doing to boost employee health and happiness. Just a few companies you might be inspired by include Salesforce (a Cloud-based software company offering employees access to an online gym and healthy meals and snacks), Airbnb (which offers all these services plus online resources), and Patagonia (a sustainable clothing company that delights its employees with mindfulness training, yoga, and more). You don’t have to have a big budget like these companies do to make a big difference in your employees’ life. Small changes such as “work from home days,” days off for achieving fitness goals, and flexible working hours can all have a positive impact.
The average American adult spends over seven hours a day staring at a screen. Like it or not, technology is revolutionizing the way we live, and our devices have almost become part of our anatomy. Instead of shunning tech, harness its appeal to increase employee wellness. Ideas include gifting employees wearable fitness trackers, encouraging them to download mental health apps like Calm or Headspace, and offering virtual fitness classes and/or virtual health coaching.
Supporting your employees’ wellbeing is a must if you wish to ensure their productivity. Before choosing the components of your wellness plan, take time to assess your employees’ needs and work out how you can best fulfil them on your budget. Seek inspiration from standard-bearers in your industry and leverage the power of health and fitness technology.