The Work Your Wellness blog series focuses on engaging employers to think differently about employee wellness and how Profile can help. In this installment, Tasha Reynolds – Profile’s queen of all things employee wellness, explores several approaches to wellness in the workplace, evaluates the dimensions of wellness and explains how they can fit into your nine-to-five and beyond.
Origins of Employee Wellness
In the beginning, business was just business: employees did what they were hired to do, punched the clock and went home to relax with their families while enjoying the fruits of their labor. Life was slow and simple. Then, along came technology and things began to move a little faster – and a little faster – and before the world knew it, punching the clock was irrelevant because work followed people everywhere.
What does this unlimited availability translate to? Stress. What does stress lead to? Unhealthy eating habits that lead to several serious health risks and low employee morale. According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 75 percent of workers surveyed believe workers have more stress than the generation before while 40 percent of workers reported their job as being extremely stressful. As a result, organizations are finding that job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or health problems.*
Although this all sounds very bleak, there is a solution, and it’s not as complicated as you may think. What is the best way to alleviate stress in a work environment? Keeping your employees healthy with a company-sponsored employee wellness program.
Employee wellness efforts date back to the early-1800’s when the Industrial Revolution introduced health issues and injuries that weren’t a problem before. Up until the 1950s, employee wellness was a relative afterthought. That’s when Employee Assistance Programs entered the picture and focus was placed on alcohol intervention and mental health. The evolution continued through the 70’s, when financial responsibility of health care was heavily shifted to employers. Naturally, employers recognized the importance of launching wellness efforts amongst their employees. By the 80’s and 90’s, the Federal Government recognized the importance of having a healthy workforce and began to fund studies and efforts to fuel the growth behind what we now know as Employee Wellness.
Employees in your organization likely spend a majority of their waking hours at work, thinking about work, and carrying work in the palm of their hand. What your employees do at work can follow them outside of your office. That’s why it’s important that employers use their resources to make their offices healthier, happier places where employees can focus on their responsibilities and complete tasks in a timely manner and in an environment that promotes mental and emotional well-being.
If the mental and emotional benefits of prioritizing wellness within your workplace are not reason enough to consider broadening your offerings, consider the financial advantages. Studies show that every dollar invested in employee wellness will yield a return of around $2.17 - $5.93. The data doesn’t lie and these figures make it clear: if your organization is not offering its staff wellness in some way, shape, or form, then you are most likely losing money.
In the coming months, we will take a deep-dive into the many of the topics that I touched on in this article to discuss the importance and implementation of Employee Wellness programs. At Profile, we are passionate about assisting companies in becoming healthier through our no-cost Employer Partner program. If you are interested in our Employee Wellness offerings, click here to learn more.
Works cited: www.stress.org/workplace-stress/