Several studies have shown the impact of employee wellness on a Company’s financial performance. Employee wellness initiatives ensure that your team is not just productive but also supports their happiness and health while at work. In fact,
- 70% of employees enrolled in wellness programs have reported higher job satisfaction (Aflac, 2019)
- 63% of employers offering wellness programs reported increased financial sustainability and growth (IFEBP, 2017)
- For every dollar spent on wellness programs the company saves $5.82 in lower employee absenteeism costs (ISDH)
- Employees are more likely to recommend a company that supports well-being efforts as a good place to work (APA, 2016)
- Companies with an employee engagement program enjoy 233% higher customer loyalty (Aberdeen Group, 2015).
There are a number of ways that Start-Ups and SME’s can introduce wellness initiatives into their business without breaking the bank. Here are just a few for you to consider:
Ensuring your employees are comfortable as they work is a good step towards employee wellness. Bright screens may affect eyesight, monitors that are at an awkward height may cause neck strain, and office chairs that do not have enough support may result in back pain. These are just a few things to consider in making sure ergonomics is applied in the workplace. Sometimes, something as simple as using an ergonomic mousepad and keyboard makes a huge difference when working all day on computers. Make sure to allow your employees to provide feedback or even make requests whenever they feel uncomfortable or inconvenienced. You may add office equipment as you see fit or replace the ones that no longer serve their purpose rather cause ergonomic issues. Ever heard of standing tables?
2. Mental Health
Though mental health awareness has been promoted for many years, there has been an increase in the need for such during the pandemic as many have lost their jobs and those who have kept theirs remain daunted by worries of uncertainties. Companies are partnering with healthcare organisations to gain awareness and be accessible in cases of employee concerns. Your company’s health insurance may cover some or all of the amount in availing of mental health benefits. Be sure to check with your insurance provider.
Not all companies invest in creating a space for employees to relax and have fun while at work, but let me tell you, it makes them happy and relieves some of the pressure they are under. Being in a room not filled with computers and paperwork provides a different vibe – an environment to de-stress. Some breakrooms have coffee and tea to choose from so you can sip a warm drink as you recover from a draining meeting. Other breakrooms have game consoles or pool tables to take employees’ minds off work for a while and get them energized afterwards. And in other instances, a couch and a couple of snacks are all employees need to chill and mingle with fellow workers taking breaks from their hectic schedules. Employees are lucky if nap rooms are available, but couches are fine, too!
In Dubai, we have the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge as a month-long event to promote wellness and physical wellbeing. Companies have adopted similar practices in their workplace to create challenges and goals for their employees and to eventually reward and recognize them towards the end of the month. This has been an effective way to bring people together working towards a common goal. Some companies even host marathons and invite partners to join to promote an active lifestyle. A simple initiative here can be a monthly step challenge. No fancy equipment, no elaborate processes. Just a simple calculator to count steps and you are all set!
Having fruits and other healthy snacks in the workplace are a simple yet good way to promote a more balanced diet! Some companies even have veggie days for employees who love eating healthy and for those who are planning to start eating healthier. Other companies have installed vending machines containing only healthy snacks for employees to choose from.
6. Active Lifestyle
Some companies invest in having an in-house gym or even provide membership discounts to gym partners for their employees. Some allow employees to visit yoga studies and have their sessions reimbursed, or even better, yoga instructors get invited to the office for a session so that employees no longer must leave the office yet still be able to attend. Due to the pandemic restrictions, yoga has been accessible online so take advantage of this free offering! Social distancing is maintained, and you have a more active lifestyle!
Sometimes, people need reminders to take good care of themselves, and your employees are no stranger to such. Monthly newsletters and even attending talks on health and wellness brings awareness to your employees. Having posters or sending emails on handwashing may be a good start considering the pandemic. It may seem simple, but it is you doing your part as an employer being proactive about your employees’ health and well-being. They would appreciate that in the long run.
To quote Malcolm X, “When ‘I’ REPLACED WITH ‘We’, even illness becomes wellness.” Make sure that you think about your employee’s wellness as they are working with you to ensure the success of your business. Not many companies invest in a good employee wellness program but this may be the time to consider doing such.
Gone are the days when customers enter restaurants simply for food and water. They also look for atmosphere and other perks. In the same way, employees may not be interested in joining or staying in a company that only provides work and salaries. There has to be something else that can benefit them. Why not start with simple initiatives to promote wellness?