Corporate wellness programs address psychological wellness in the workplace. The focus is a shift from physical safety (what was considerably more of a concern 100 years ago) to mental wellbeing. While the chronic health conditions associated with factory work are largely a thing of the past, the impact of chronic stress in the 21st century is very much a reality, having recently been dubbed a “health epidemic”. Corporate wellness programmes take a variety of forms, from meditation booths and yoga pods, to gyms, fitness challenges or company teambuilding and days out.
For any business which deals with people, wellbeing is important. It’s relevant to both employers and workers for several reasons. It’s obvious that for workers, a company which cares about its employee’s wellness is attractive. Employees are likely to feel safer, more valued and treated as individuals rather than a cog in a complex machine. But let’s face it, a well-oiled machine is going to run better than one with rusty, slow-moving cogs – it’s no different for your business. There’s no point investing time and money into making the machine look good if the components it comprises are inefficient.
Most desirably to employers, corporate wellness programs offer improved productivity in the workforce. More productive employees get the same amount of work done in a shorter time frame and often to a higher standard. The key is to unlock this, which if successful, can counteract the high costs associated with of presenteeism. Healthier employees are happier employees too, and fitness-based incentives are great for teambuilding as well as encouraging exercise. Ultimately physically healthier employees are likely to take fewer sick days and, for some companies, save on pricey health insurance costs.
Secondly, employers can benefit from better brand image due to increased employee satisfaction. Corporate wellness programmes can feed into a company’s brand culture strategy, where, out of office activities build a sense of community, boost morale and allow employees to connect and form friendships outside of the office. On one hand this can make a company more attractive to work for, benefitting recruitment, and on the other hand create a more cohesive office environment with an effective work life balance.
However, one of the reasons corporate wellness programmes have seen their effectiveness questioned, comes down to how difficult it may be to measure their success. Wellness comprises a lot more elements than simply employee satisfaction and for such a holistic approach it appears reductionist and almost inappropriate to confine it to a Likert scale on a questionnaire. Employee testimonials are of course another way the effectiveness of wellness programmes may be measured however for big firms looking to invest big money into these interventions, they want to see statistical evidence to validate the price tag.
Upfront costs and time that may also be seriously off-putting to some employers as the benefits of wellness programmes may take months if not years to come to fruition. Interestingly, a study by Harvard and Chicago University found those in companies with a wellness programme self-reported healthier behaviour, such as weight management and exercise. However, there was no difference between absenteeism, job performance and money spent on health care between those who worked at companies with wellness programmes and those at companies without over 18 months. For an industry worth more than $8 billion, it’s understandable that this research leads some to question whether this is all a money-making scheme.
Regardless, mental wellness is undeniably linked to productivity, focus and overall happiness whether a company takes responsibility for it or not. Fitness is also a key factor in improving wellness, with strong links to improved mental cognition, sleep quality, reduced anxiety and depression and of course increased productivity. The RE:GEN is the world’s first energy generating indoor fitness bike which captures and converts your human power into a portable battery pack to charge your devices. Not only are we innovating to become more sustainable, but our mission is to incentivise fitness, making sure it’s recognised as a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. See how it could work for your business and even integrate into your company’s wellness strategy.