The Importance of Employee Wellness

Several developments over the past few decades, have shown that management, can do much more to boost employee productivity and sales than to just update to more technological systems, or shave unnecessary distractions from the workplace. According to organizations that specialize in researching and developing employee incentivization programs, sales and productivity will also rise when your employees are healthy, happy, and well.

The benefits of ensuring the health of employees weren’t always fully understood, but today we have numerous studies showing not just the obvious truth (that healthy employees are far less likely to call in sick or use vacation time due to illness) but also that companies which promote health in the workplace, have a greater percentage of their workplace working each day across the board. This means that not only are these employees not calling in sick due to their illness, but they’re also not calling in sick due to ill family members either. Though it sounds counterintuitive, the CDC reports that those companies which promote workplace health, tend to cause the family members of employees to also be more healthy more often.

The cost of workplace health programs should be weighed against the cost of not just absenteeism for sickness, and caring for the sickness of family members, but also “presenter-ism”, the practice of sick employees coming in to work even when they are not capable of working with their full capabilities.

However, health is not enough on its own. Employees also must be kept happy in order to maximize employee productivity. The best way to maintain a happy work environment is to make sure that all employees feel fully appreciated. This means extensive employee recognition systems should be kept in place to keep morale high. When considering potential team building ideas, it’s important that employee recognition programs always involve nominations and voting from peers, not management, and that all awards be on the basis of team efforts, not individual accomplishments. It’s also helpful to keep most awards non-monetary, so that you don’t end up engendering jealousy among other workers whenever one person wins an award.

If you run a small or medium size business, you may at first think that instituting a wellness program at your company will be cost-prohibitive. Yet the truth is almost the exact opposite: according to a 2003 meta-study of thirteen different studies evaluating the economic effects of wellness programs, for every dollar invested companies receive $3.72 in reduced health care costs and $5.06 in reduced absenteeism costs. It may seem expensive at first glance, but the reality is that it’s even more expensive to not run an employee wellness program of some kind.