Why wellbeing at work? (posted on 05.07.2016)

Health and wellbeing is a growing agenda on the boardroom table.

Corporations and businesses are starting to recognise the link between employee wellbeing and long-term organisational health asboth become harder pressed to do more with less in the challenging economic climate, and are required to perform better than ever before.   By investing in their most valuable asset, they are beginning to witness greater productivity, engagement, reduced costs and enhanced talent attraction.

Simply put by the CIPD, employee well-being is the missing part in the jigsaw to achieving full engagement in the workplace.


An unrecognised cost

Caring about employee health isn’t just a perk or a nice gesture; there’s also a strong business case to be made for employee health and wellness initiatives.

  • 200 million working days are lost every year at an estimated cost of £13bn to UK industry because of stress (CBI).
  • The latest figures released in 2013 showed that sickness absence cost businesses on average £554 per employee (CIPD).
  • More than one in three adults suffer a longstanding illness (ONS 2015), with over 70% of these caused by musculoskeletal disorders, circulatory diseases and mental ill health.

Do you know what the current and future impact of these challenges will be on your business?

Quantifying exact costs is still difficult and CBI estimates that only 25% of UK businesses actually calculate their absence costs. However in addition to these direct costs there are also the indirect costs that absenteeism brings which are important in building a truer picture e.g. lost sales, lost customers, inability to take on new contracts, inability to fulfill existing contracts as well as costs of recruiting and training up temporary employees.


So what is wellbeing at work and why now?

Wellbeing at work encompasses many facets of health including physical, mental and emotional; they are all interconnected. Research shows there is a direct correlation between health, resilience and engagement.

Ultimately though, health and wellbeing at work means different things to different people/ organisations! It is also important to recognize that it can be the simpler, smaller interventions which can be most effective (and cost effective). Introducing employee health and wellbeing schemes into your business doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be relevant to your employees needs and priorities.

Health and wellbeing programmes can also play a pivotal role in creating that important emotional connection between employers and their employees. Investing in employee wellbeing has been shown to convincingly drive:

  • Talent attraction
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved retention
  • Higher employee commitment
  • Higher productivity
  • Enhanced personal resilience
  • Enhanced brand profile

Some examples of health and wellbeing initiatives can include:

  • Healthy eating initiatives
  • Promoting healthier practises such as step challenges, exercises classes, meditation rooms.
  • Mental and physical health workshops and training
  • Social clubs within the workplace
  • Line manager training and development (see our next blog coming soon on this one!)
  • Flexible working practises
  • Effective EAP and support services

As we enter a period when many employees are facing job insecurity and high levels of stress, now is the time to invest in workplace health and wellbeing to address and support and sustain a good level of health and wellbeing inside and outside the workplace and to develop means to prevent employees’ ill health.

Succinctly put by CIPD, “investing in wellbeing leads to increased resilience, greater innovation and higher productivity.” In short, a commitment to the health, fitness and wellbeing of employees makes good business sense!