Employee wellness is essential for an organization to survive and thrive. The employee wellness impacts on the culture of the workplace, its resources as well as its productivity. The health of the employees, how they feel both mentally and physically, goes a long way toward guaranteeing the growth, stability, strength, and sustainability of an organization.
What is Employee Wellness?
Employee wellness means physical and mental fitness and health. Employee wellness has recently emerged as a concept in the workplace, with organizations focusing more on employees' health and helping them to influence their quality of life, mental well-being, and performance at work. Employee wellness is not only about reducing absenteeism and being absent due to illness but also to proactively encourage and promote healthier lifestyles and attitudes among the employees.
The concept of employee wellness broadly covers health promotion, prevention of illness, and factors that determine how healthy a person is both mentally as well as physically. It is primarily about enabling workers to make better choices about their health and control it. Employee wellness is necessary as costs of absenteeism and employee stress are considered fatal for organizations and lead to huge losses both in production as well as in terms of finance.
Tackling Absenteeism and Presenteeism
In the present scenario, absenteeism is reducing as most of the employees are returning to office as lockdown rules are relaxed across many countries. However, this is not exactly a positive and truthful conclusion. Though many people are back in the workplace, most of them are not fully engaged in their presence at work. This is portraying a case of presenteeism- when people should be at home recovering and working from home, they are present in the office. However, their motivation and productivity are at the lowest. It is also seen that presenteeism is often enraged by employers who create fear in employees who take time off from work. Both absenteeism and presenteeism, as such, are costly in both business and personal terms.
This is where employee wellness comes in! Through employee wellness programs, an organization can help workers become more aware of their physical and mental health and motivate them to be more mindful of it. They can also be encouraged to make proper lifestyle choices regularly.
Changing a person's behavior is upon the person, but employers have an excellent opportunity to help their workers understand the value of adopting a healthier lifestyle. Workplace culture should be good to enhance productivity at work. A supportive work environment is pleasant to work in, where managers introduce a robust wellness strategy, and regularly motivate and engage the employees. An organization can add wellness, incentive programs, and benefits for the employee to reinforce healthy behavior for them employee as well as the community.
There are many wellness initiatives like smoking cessation programs, health fairs, gym memberships, and newsletters. While there are organizations that have instituted comprehensive wellness programs, others have achieved savings or increased productivity by introducing simple health-enhancing activities within the community. An organization should not only launch the employee wellness program but also commit to it.
So, why most organization don't promote employee wellness programs?
Wellness programs bring many challenges to an organization. The success of an employee wellness program largely depends on factors outside employers' control, like employee adoption and maintenance of healthy behavior, an employee having good health, and not leaving the company. To reap the benefits of a wellness program effectively, organizations should maximize employee buy-in and participation.
Employee wellness should be viewed as an investment for an organization, as employees are the biggest asset for the office! According to studies, employees are more likely to continue a job and give their best performance when they are in good health. the benefits of an employee wellness program includes:
- It attracts talented workers
- It reduces absenteeism significantly
- It enhances decision making and productivity of the employees
- It improves employee morale
- There is a significant reduction in turnover
- A healthier workforce and environment in an organization.