Workplace Wellness Programmes: Creating Better Employees
The global wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion (£3.2 trillion), with the corporate wellness market expected to reach $84.9 billion (£64.4 billion) in the next six years. As businesses begin to realise that they’re only as good as their employees, there is added focus on the overall wellbeing of the workforce. These initiatives may come in the form of corporate yoga classes, healthy menus in the cafeteria, free clinics, or additional time-off. It’s all about ensuring that employees’ wellbeing is taken care of, which has huge pay-offs for the employer as well.
The question is: do workplace wellness programmes create better employees?
As an employee in this modern world, the simple answer is yes. Business Matters Magazine reported that 12.5 million working days were wasted in 2017 due to sick leaves. This figure only accounted for work-related stress, but if you think about it, office-bound professionals are not exactly pillars of physical health. Speaking from experience, demanding work leaves very little time to think about a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and sleep. Most of us spend more time at work than at home. Therefore, it’s the perfect place to cultivate a culture that cares about all the aspects of our health. It may not seem like much but an office that brings in experts who can teach us about how to take care of our overall health can be life-changing.
For instance, sponsored yoga classes target both the physical and psychological effects of working too hard. Embody Wellness previously talked about our human need to feel busy which can be a double-edged sword. Spending more than eight hours a day hunched over a desk can be detrimental to your posture. As a result, it can even cause chronic back problems, which subsequently affects your level of productivity. However, a yoga class is the perfect way to relieve the physical tension of sedentary life. In fact, a 2017 trial involving workplace yoga for NHS employees resulted in 20 times fewer sick leaves caused by back pain after two months. Back pain is severely overlooked by companies but it is costing them a lot of money.
On top of the aforementioned physical benefits, yoga and other forms of exercise also bring about some much-needed stress relief. Stress is one of the biggest killers impacting workplace productivity. One of the biggest causes of stress is a lack of work-life balance. It’s not surprising that the results of a recent survey indicated that British employees want more flexible working hours. While work is an essential part of life, we also need time for rest and play.
Unfortunately, our busy lives don’t always allow us to take proper care of ourselves or eat a balanced diet. It goes without saying that an unhealthy diet coupled with lack of physical activity are partly responsible for chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or even fatigue. Apart from an active lifestyle, companies must also start to promote healthy diets and educate their employees on healthy eating habits.
One great example of this is former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was almost singlehandedly responsible for changing footballers’ lifestyles and diets in the UK. It wasn’t until Wenger came along that Arsenal adopted a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits, which transformed the team one of the most formidable in Europe. Over 20 years later, Wenger’s strict attitude towards food and fitness has now become the benchmark for football clubs globally. You might say that it was easy for footballers to make those changes because they’re athletes. However, we’re not asking companies to turn their employees into athletes overnight but instead educate them to adopt a holistic approach when it comes to their lifestyle. Companies also need to be more proactive in cultivating an environment that prioritises overall health and wellness.
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