The idea of offering and promoting wellbeing in the workplace is not a new concept; however, as the 24/7 nature of digital business continues to thrive, the line between work and life gets blurrier, which can lead to increased stress levels and negatively affect performance and health. The Global Wellness Institute found that 38% of workers suffer from excessive pressure on the job globally, estimating that the annual cost of work-related stress in the U.S. was $300 billion in 2016.
The market has responded to resolve these findings – more than $2 billion venture capital funding has been invested in digitalizing employee well-being platforms over the past 2 years. Today, the definition of corporate wellness has expanded beyond physical health and safety to include employee social and emotional well-being, including programs that promote mental health, healthy diet and exercise, mindfulness, sleep, and stress management.
In Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends Report, the findings revealed that a critical component of attracting and retaining top talent is providing “a work environment that promotes longevity and well-being – not only in terms of an employee’s career, but also in physical and mental spheres.” In their global survey of 11,000 business leaders, Deloitte found that over 50% of respondents claimed that incorporating wellness programs into their total rewards strategy is “valuable” or “highly valuable” to employees, 66% cited that these initiatives are a critical part of their employment brand and culture, and 61% said that they improve employee productivity and bottom line business results.
However, their research also indicated that there is often a gap between what companies are providing and what employees want and value. According to their report, 67% of employees find reimbursement for well-being expenses valuable, but only 26% of companies are offering this type of program. Additionally, 60% of employees see mental health counseling as a valuable component of a benefits package, but only 21% of organizations offer this.
Implementing and managing an end-to-end, holistic approach to well-being in the workplace involves creating a customizable solution to fit the wide variety of employees’ needs and wants. In “8 Trends That Will Impact Worksite Wellness in 2018,” Forbes highlighted that companies looking to increase recruitment and retention efforts should focus on collective well-being because “every employee’s journey to a healthier lifestyle is unique, and it should be treated as such.” By integrating wellness initiatives with a digital platform, your organization can promote, track, and monitor utilization and success rates, while allowing employees to utilize the application based on their individual health status, interests, and goals. Additionally, you can quantify the costs and benefits of well-being programs on the bottom-line. Using these practices, wellness initiatives can play an integral part in your talent strategy by improving your employment branding and increasing employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
Personify’s Corporate Wellness Committee leads various programs throughout the year to promote physical and mental health at our office, ranging from coordinating step challenges to offering healthier options for our company-wide cookouts. This month, the Wellness Committee launched a campaign to highlight the importance of mental health in the workplace. They shared videos on the topic and facilitated discussions around the roles that nutrition and exercise play in our productivity and happiness, inside and outside of the office.
Quality of food and diet impacts not only your overall physical health, but also mental health. According to Mental Health America, diet is linked to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in learning and memory, and people with healthy diets have more hippocampal volume than those with unhealthy diets. To promote healthy eating habits in our office, the Wellness Committee provides fresh fruit baskets and subsidized healthy vending machine options for our team.
Exercise affects overall well-being in a variety of ways. In addition to its physical health benefits, exercise plays an important role in brain functioning, including increasing certain substances that regulate depression (BDNF); sending messages about appetite, sleep and mood (serotonin); acting to control the activity in nerve cells in the parts of the brain that process visual information and affect emotions and ability to think clearly (glutamate and GABA). Personify offers a monthly gym membership stipend that allows employees to customize their fitness routine at a reduced cost.
By embracing a broader definition of employee wellbeing and revamping your corporate wellness strategy to be more personalized, your organization can reap the benefits across the board, from recruitment and retention to performance and profits.