Are Corporate Wellness Programs Effective?

Corporate wellness programs address psychological wellness in the workplace. Many of us are already familiar with health and safety laws...

Corporate wellness programs address psychological wellness in the workplace. Many of us are already familiar with health and safety laws that seek to protect employees from physical harm, but supporting mental health during working hours is a relatively recent focus. 

The impact of chronic stress in the 21st century is very much a reality and has 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 team-building and days out. 

For any business dealing with people, well-being is important. It's relevant to both employers and workers for several reasons. It's obvious that for workers, a company that cares about its employee's wellness is a huge benefit. Employees are likely to feel safer, more valued and considered as individuals rather than a cog in a complex machine. And 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. 

Most desirably to employers, corporate wellness programs offer improved productivity in the workforce. 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 presenteeism. Healthier employees are happier employees too, and fitness-based incentives are great for team building as well as encouraging exercise. Physically healthier employees take fewer sick days and, for some companies, save on expensive health insurance premiums. 

Secondly, employers can also benefit from a 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 with their co-workers in a more neutral setting. This makes companies look more attractive, benefitting recruitment and creating a more cohesive office environment. 

But the success of corporate wellness programmes can be difficult to measure. Wellness comprises far more elements than just employee satisfaction. 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 smart fitness bike, which captures and converts 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 (and sustainability) strategy.

Find out more about the RE:GEN for your office 

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