Google is the dream company of many. Employees want to work at Google. But why? Have you heard about the workplace strategies of Google? According to Investopedia, Google wants to make its employees’ lives more comfortable. And it’s always searching for methods of improving the health, wellbeing, and morale of its Googlers. In modern terminology, this is called “Employee Health.” Corporate health and wellness are the talks of the town named the corporate world.
What Exactly is Employee or Corporate Health and Wellness?
Evident by the term itself, employee health is the health of your employees. Now fitness is not just the absence of illness but the presence of physical, mental, and social wellness. Thus, employee health is the disease management for your employees and promoting wellness and preventive measures for them.
These efforts aim to have healthy, engaged, and foremost, happy employees at the workplace. The concept of employee health covers everything which affects any of these factors. These may include promoting regular exercise and nutritional habits or maintaining a smoke-free, hygienic, and clean workspace or providing medical assistance to co-workers.
These can be specific to some groups of people like period leaves to menstruators or contact assistance for employees coming from a rural area. The overall delivery of these in a bundle is referred to as employee healthcare.
But why? Why do I need to provide all these expenses from my pocket, isn’t the health of a person their own duty?
Yes, it is. But the fact is that you are on the losing side by avoiding this.
Absolutely. Have a look.
Your business is lagging from poor employee health
The direct measure of profit or loss for a business is money, which is second to employee productivity. Unhealthy employees mean loss of productivity and hence loss of money.
The UK lost €92 billion in 2019 alone due to poor employee health.
There are two types of productivity losses a business suffer due to employee health:
Absenteeism and Presenteeism
Absenteeism is the absence of employees, i.e., they are on leave. These may be sick leaves, carer’s leaves, or compensation leaves. It’s easy to notice and access. Next to it is presenteeism, which is the productivity loss when the employee is present but not working up to the mark because of being unwell. And the productivity loss due to presenteeism can be four times the same due to absenteeism.
What are you saying? You mean we offer unlimited sick leaves to people, and that too paid? We have hired them to build assets for our company, not for them being a liability.
No, providing sick leaves won’t help.
What you have to do is provide them with health and care. You have to spend on these factors. Compare this with the concept of advertisement. You let go of the money for ads because you know that will create more money in return. It’s the same logic here. A healthy workforce = more work = more money. Big companies like Google, Microsoft, or Zomato do that, and they have excellent results, which proves the benefits of your expenditure on employee health.
Which Benefits? Why is Corporate Health and Wellness Important?
There are many like reduced absenteeism, employee turnover, and an increase in staff morale and productivity.
Let’s discuss employee turnover. Imagine you hire an employee and train him for six months of the work. Later, that trained employee leaves, and you are again looking for another one. This is what we call employee turnover. And as a business, it is a matter to worry about. Turnover leads to a halt in the workflow of at least an entire department, adds costs of hiring new people, and delays delivering work to clients. When an average employee leaves, it costs 33% of their annual salary.
But let me tell you that employees who are happy and feel secure in their current workplace are less likely to change their employer even for slight pay increments. Employers who focus on employee wellbeing have turnover rates of around 70-75% as compared to those who don’t focus on workplace wellness. And that’s why employee health is essential. Besides, they also feel like their organization cares for them. This sense of care is what stops them from going to a new workplace, and they deliver their best to your company. It’s like how a person works for his family. Employee health makes that bond between you and your employee.
In all of this, you save your money and create a positive brand image in the corporate world. Good health is a profitable business. People know the quote, but they don’t know how to do profitable business, i.e., how to take care of their employees’ wellbeing.
Is that the case with you as well?
Don’t worry as now we’ll talk about
Best Practices for Employee Health Programs
The complete health scheme created for the ultimate motive of a healthy employee is what we call an employee health program or an employee health plan. And a plan has many things that one can do for corporate health and wellness. But these are the ones best suited for your business. Let’s get into them.
Although this is very obvious, the practical conditions of workplaces explain why this is on the list. The absence of cleanliness is an inhibitor of a healthy lifestyle and gives rise to the spread of many detrimental health issues and their carriers.
In the current situation of coronavirus and re-opening of workplaces, the importance of cleanliness reaches a new high. Regular disinfection of touch-prone surfaces is a need of the hour.
Here are some variations that you can make:
- Daily collection and disposal of garbage. Also, make sure that the trash is segregated correctly.
- Installation of touch-free hand sanitization systems
Advocacy of Regular Physical Activity
You can cost-effectively promote exercise in employees through regular physical activity. With today’s workplace culture, the physical aspect of corporate health and wellness is avoided naturally. We sit in front of a screen the entire day. This sedentary lifestyle is one of the primary reasons for health problems nowadays.
Inducing these physical activities in the work style of the company, you are moving on the path of better employee health. Things you can do include are:
- Promoting stairs instead of elevators
- Recommend 5 min walk sessions after every hour of work
- Include an annual sports day for the office. It works like a charm with a little expenditure.
These small changes can lead to blood pressure management and cardiovascular wellbeing. Physical exercise also increases energy levels and thus more engaged and more productive co-workers.
Nutrition is as important as exercise. And it is often overlooked in our race of productivity, but it is not the actual case. Lack of proper nutrition directly affects the productivity of an individual. Adequate nutrition provides us with the energy we need to run our body and brain in coordination for the best outcomes. Healthy nutrition is a must.
You can make free fruits and juice available for the employees regularly, especially for long shifts. Storage service for tiffins is another excellent option.
These also include promoting healthy habits such as no-screen lunch. You have your lunch with your eyes away from computers and minds at ease. Hence the assimilation of nutrition provided by the food is maximum.
More nutrition = More energy = Unmatched productivity
Although smoking is a personal choice when in the office, every employee must ensure that the premise is smoke-free. It’s intuitive, SMOKING KILLS. We all know that, but some still smoke and let their organs get damaged. It doesn’t stop here because a smoke-filled environment is dangerous to others as well. Hence, you can maintain a smoke-free environment at your workplace with the following steps:
- Forbid smoking at the workplace and in company vehicles
- Organize seminars by collaborating with local doctors for awareness of the dangers of smoking
- Promote quit smoking programs on campus
- Remember that smoking reduces more than ten years from a person’s life, which is indirectly a loss of the power force.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Similar to smoking, alcohol consumption is also a personal choice of an employee. However, it is also a leading cause of diseases, such as liver problems, cancer, heart problems, and kidney failure. Two main reasons for alcohol consumption are 1) stress and 2) celebration. So considering these, you have to work on the root causes here which are:
- High work burden
- Non-availability of alcohol-free drinks at office events
- Lack of “alcohol at workplace” policies
Therefore, design “alcohol at my workplace” policy. Make non-alcoholic options available during office celebrations and provide a facility of counseling to tackle the situation of work stress leading to alcohol.
Effective Vacations Promote Corporate Health and Wellness
Do you know Netflix has an unlimited vacation policy? They do not keep track of vacations taken by employees, and it has done wonders for them. But this hasn’t worked well for many other companies. What is the reason for that?
This is a psychological pattern that an employee does not take a vacation if the official they are directly reporting to does not take breaks. It has been found that many companies offer limited holidays, and they are sufficient enough, but employees do not take them because they are mentally compelled to work if their boss is working.
The scheme of accumulation of vacation pay that they get during retirement (usually followed by government departments throughout the world) also contributes to this.
These breaks are performance boosters. Just like how an F1 car gets replacements after a lap, these vacations fill employees with new motivation to excel at their work. Hence, maintaining an influential vacation culture is a significant step ahead in better employee health and safety.
Incentives and Medical Assistance
These are the efforts requiring a direct investment of chunks of money. The most common incentive is life insurance. For big businesses, it is legally required for an employer to provide life insurance to the staff. But even small companies can step in this territory, and they definitely should. Other than that, you can provide regular checkups at your place. These may be complete health checkups or specific checks such as eyesight problems or throat problems.
You can also provide medical assistance in other ways as well. An example can be having a partnership with a local hospital for a hassle-free experience for your employees. One unique technique is to provide fitness bands to make them aware of their habits.
Mental Health of Your Employee
As we are getting more and more educated on mental health, we are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental effects the stress from office has on an employee. This stress can cause physical ailments, which we have read above. But it can also put someone in depression or make someone a regular recipient of anxiety attacks.
And a depressed mind is not able to engage entirely in work costing the company human resources. Before other actions, the stigma around mental health issues has to be broken in the office. Encourage lively discussions around the topic and, in general, about other things in the company. Train your HRs about mental health strategies and work towards getting constant work from your employees. But be careful not to overwork them at the same time.
Other General Steps for Corporate Health and Wellness
- Place a weighing machine near the entry gate. The mere presence of it will raise consciousness among the staff members about their weight.
- Regular reminder messages for healthy habits to the employees
- As we are using screens more and more, you can provide each employee with eye protection glasses. This saves their eyes from the harmful blue radiation.
All in all, along with your employee, you are at a loss by avoiding employee health at the workplace. People from owners of small businesses to Bill Gates are talking about the benefits of a health-oriented approach to the corporate world and a healthy workforce.
More than helping employees, you’ll be helping yourself. Moreover, it creates a bond of trust between your team. And we have seen throughout the centuries that well-bonded teams unleash the magic. Your mindset is now encouraged to the simultaneous progress of your business and your employees’ health. So, what are you waiting for? Design your employee health program with the information you just got before the workplaces open entirely. For more bits and bytes on personal as well as corporate health and wellness, join our newsletter. Only value-adding content, no time wastage, or spam emails. For a visual journey of the same content, head over to our social media profile @healthybits_