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Half The Effort, Double The Impact: How To Maximize Employee Wellbeing

By Nan de Bruin

Published 8 September 2021

Wellness programs were often viewed as a challenging initiative for organizations around the world. Finally, times are changing and companies focus on how to maximize employee wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for a huge change in the workplace with the utilization of technology revolutionizing how, when, and where we work.

Worldwide, an increase in remote and hybrid model working has resulted in the formation of a new normal’ that, in turn, requires companies to adapt how they deliver corporate wellness programs to their workforce. 

The rapidly changing needs of employees have been increasingly recognized by employers worldwide. Companies are understanding the bottom-line value of employee wellness in their organizations better and better. But while change is vital for corporate health and wellness, it can feel overwhelming.

Below, we discuss the crucial role of health and wellbeing programs and their relationship with workplace philosophy and values. If you’re looking to revolutionize your company’s health and wellbeing initiatives, we reveal how digital platforms are leading the way for corporate wellness and discuss some common challenges faced by HR professionals.

Find out more about our Corporate Health software!

Corporate Health and Wellbeing Programs Matter

We are living in unprecedented times. Research indicates that more than 7 out of 10 Britons are not exercising enough, with a quarter of over 55’s not exercising at all since the pandemic began.

In addition, remote working has increased the likelihood of a sedentary lifestyle by up to 28% throughout the pandemic.

Data published by Vitality from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (the UK’s largest workplace wellbeing survey) indicated that the UK economy loses almost £92 billion a year through workplace absence related to ill-health.

According to OECD Health Policy Studies, the direct costs of absenteeism and presenteeism are around £4,600 per employee per year, with obesity resulting in a 3% loss of productivity across the workforce due to illness, lower performance, and absenteeism.

And our Mental Health is Suffering Too!

Research indicates that stress is the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace, with 50-60% of absent days linked to work-related stress. 41% of people also stated a decline in their mental state since the start of the pandemic.

Organizations are now challenged with recognizing, reflecting, and responding to changes in their workforce. Part of this challenge is learning how to adapt to the unique shift in the wants and needs of their human capital. This means providing tools for employees to nurture their health and wellbeing in a time of extreme stress and anxiety.

The 5 Biggest Challenges for HR Professionals to Maximize Employee Wellbeing

When it comes to nurturing and growing the company workforce, HR faces 5 common challenges:

  • ATTRACTING TOP TALENT
  • ENGAGING THE WORKFORCE
  • IMPROVING EMPLOYEE VITALITY
  • OPTIMIZING PRODUCTIVITY
  • RETAINING TOP TALENT

A company’s health and wellbeing program can either positively or negatively impact each of the above five areas. Many companies are now giving their wellbeing initiatives a more focal position in the workplace.

Data published by Vitality found that 85% of homeworkers stated that companies who take employee health and wellbeing seriously would be an important future career consideration! However, forming an effective, successful health and wellbeing scheme isn’t a simple process.

The Overarching Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

A wellbeing philosophy is a formalized way of creating a vision and mission statement around wellbeing support and coverage within a company. Traditionally, company culture and wellness schemes were siloed rather than informing one another; this often created miscommunication and misalignment between the two areas.

The new workplace revolution calls for a more integrated approach to culture and wellness, following the increase in remote and hybrid working. By allowing both areas to work side-by-side, the company can foster its culture and respond to the ever-evolving wellbeing needs of its employees.

For example, if a company’s culture is to cultivate community, how can they support this via their wellbeing initiatives? How can they bring people together?

How a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy is Built

Company culture should define a health and wellbeing program. You can form and manage this philosophy according to these three aspects:

  1. Defining how resources are distributed
  2. Deciding how decisions are made
  3. Determining how things get done

Ultimately, our behavior shapes every stage of formation and management; this creates a culture within the company which can then inform its wellbeing practices.

The Best Practises for Building a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

There are 5 best practices for building a philosophy:

  1. ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES (EARLY AND OFTEN)
  2. BUY-IN LEADERSHIP
  3. APPOINT WELLNESS CHAMPIONS
  4. DECIDE A PROGRAM BUDGET
  5. OFFER INCENTIVES AND REWARDS

By incentivizing the process, employees feel involved and invested in the company and its beliefs. But with such an overhaul in workplace practices since the start of the pandemic, how can companies adapt and execute programs to suit ‘the new normal?’

The Benefits of Healthcare Technology for any Company

According to a Workplace Wellness Programs Study Report, employee wellness programs improve long-term healthy behaviors in employees- both physically and mentally. In short, we need them! So how do we make them effective and relevant?

We live in a digital age with a vast array of digital tools at our fingertips; technology is a great enabler for improving workplace culture in this way. Simple mobile applications can allow companies to provide effective, digital wellbeing programs to both employers and employees.

Health and wellbeing content can be rich, varied, and personalized. And so it can facilitate better engagement and enhance community interaction within the workplace. Regardless of business level.

It is also an incredible opportunity to embrace the new working environment by connecting and engaging people regardless of location.

With the rise in the usage of wearable technology for employees, technology has fast become the most intelligent way to access content, whether employees are remote working or in the office.

Maximize Employee Wellbeing: The Takeaway

Well-executed health and wellbeing programs form an integral part of company culture, particularly in more recent times. Technology allows companies to offer a more personalized wellness journey to their workforce, catering to the unique needs of each individual.

By diversifying wellness content, companies can provide more choice and better support for their team with more inclusive and relevant content. After all, we don’t hire the same people, so why do we offer everyone the same wellness journey?

DISCOVER VIRTUAGYM’S CORPORATE HEALTH SOFTWARE

Our 24/7 digital platform is accessible by mobile app and features home workouts, food tracking, meditations, a digital community, and plenty of health and wellness content- all at the touch of a button and connected through HR software.

Nan de Bruin

Visual storyteller and winter sports enthusiast

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