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In the past, wellbeing initiatives have been seen as an adjunct to health and safety activities, and in some cases were little more than a perk – witness the vogue for desk-based head massage in the 1980s or aromatherapy treatments as part of flexible benefits packages. However, there is a growing recognition that these “nice to haves” no longer reflect the needs of many workplaces and employees. Employers now seek wellbeing initiatives that help employees to stay fit and contribute to productivity improvements.
Although research into the financial benefits of an effective wellbeing strategy is in its infancy in the UK, initial studies point to a quantifiable return on investment from investing in workplace health interventions.
A healthy workforce should have a lower sickness absence rate, which leads to cost saving in terms of having to find additional staff to cover the absence. Additionally companies can work to negate the potential for missed opportunities through customer receiving a less polished experience, and the ability of the wider team to provide the expected level of service.
By ensuring employee’s wellbeing, organisations can attempt to reduce the likelihood of workplace accidents. Accidents caused by workplace fatigue are said to cost the UK £115 – £240 million a year in terms of work accidents alone and there is some evidence to suggest that organisations implementing these initiatives reduce these risks.
If companies can retain existing staff, they not only save on the cost of recruiting a replacement person, they also save on the indirect costs such as management time spent in dealing with ill health in the workplace.
Employees whose physical and psychological wellbeing is good demonstrate higher commitment levels than less healthy staff. Healthy workers are engaged workers, and engaged workers provide better customer experiences, with a flow through to profits and productivity.
How an employer treats their people is important to potential recruits. Organisations that demonstrate a caring approach, including one that supports the wellbeing of staff, are more likely to attract, and retain, good people, as well as benefit from the wider impact of bolstered corporate reputation.
The workplace is a fast-paced, changing environment and employees need to be fit and healthy to cope with changes. Data now flows more quickly and deadlines are tighter, employees need to be able to respond effectively to these pressures. If companies make efforts to boost their employees’ resilience, they are less likely to see staff absence levels increase in times of extra pressure or stress.
Chris leads AXA PPP healthcare’s Proactive Health services, a ground-breaking approach to engaging populations and driving health behaviour change in a manner that is both inclusive and cost effective. His team consists of a unique combination of health experts, technologists and experienced e-commerce specialists.
Chris himself combines both business experience with his doctorate in molecular biology, giving him an understanding of and passion for solutions against the diverse range of risks created by modern lifestyles, including challenges such as diabetes and hypertension.
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