The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has slowly trickled into the UK business culture over the past 5 years. It began among the commercial giants and now in 2015 CSR has become a hot topic, resulting in a younger generation of businesses beginning to implement business practices that have seen them recognized for their responsible and ethical stance. As we live in an age that is becoming increasingly concerned about the integrity and authenticity of a business, it is clear that in order to be successful, a key consideration should be the impact and contribution that it makes to society.
Under the umbrella of ‘corporate social responsibility’ comes corporate or employee wellness, a workplace policy designed to support the health and wellness of its employees, combating rising health issues and reducing the impact that poor health has on numerous areas of a business.
The success of a corporate wellness program comes down to the strategy and delivery. It will not be a one-size fits all solution and will require support, leadership and commitment from all involved. Because for many, it will be a lifestyle overhaul that some employees may be reluctant to embrace; education is key when it comes to change, everyone should be aware of the benefits of a corporate wellness program in order to engage and empower the team.
Clearly the out dated draconian route of ‘3 occurrences before disciplinary’ approach to employee sickness hasn’t done much to combat the issue because the current amount of sick days still sits at an annual average of 6.4 days per employee. As a direct result absenteeism is a substantial drain on UK businesses currently costing them in excess of £4,000 each week. With this leading to an astronomical annual figure, it makes good business sense to intervene in a proactive and preventative manner by introducing employee wellness policies that actively looks to improve employees health, and in turn happiness.
Investing in a comprehensive long term solution that will reduce ill health in employee is said to provide an ROI of £4.17 for every £1 spent, potentially making you more profitable than competitors who are purely focused on sales alone.
As technological advancements make options such as remote working far more achievable, the quest for a work /life balance is at an all-time high in 2015, and corporate wellness programs can aid employees in achieving this Holy Grail by integrating a ‘life’ aspect into the workplace that will be felt beyond its perimeters.
As more millennials enter the work force, they are looking for a career that is going to offer them more than just a pay check. They want to work for a business that cares about them and what better way to show you care than to enable them to become fitter, stronger and healthier, giving them a platform to achieve as much as they possibly can by removing potential barriers.
Corporate Wellness will give you the competitive advantage when the time comes to delve into the talent pool.
FitBit reports that companies that have implemented corporate wellness programs have seen an 8% increase in productivity, while another analysis found that employee absenteeism decreased by as much as 25%. We spend 11 years of our lives at work, it is such a large proportion of our lives that it provides a significant opportunity to influence behaviours for the better.
Most corporate wellness programs encourage a set level of exercise through incentives; Exercising to achieve a pre-determined goal is a display of behaviour that can also be taken into the work environment. Regular exercise can contribute to productivity on a number of levels; the release of endorphins makes us feel happy and content, we become more confident and stress levels are reduced, all leading to a positive mental state and higher rate of productivity.
Eating well can also have a profound effect on both our physical and mental state; numerous studies into the effects of sugary junk food show themselves as peak and troughs of energy throughout the day, by offering nutritious snacks you may be a consistent level of energy and stamina throughout the day, and better concentration leads of a higher quality of work.
“Our researched showed us the incredibly high level of absenteeism caused by musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, injuries and pain in the lower back and neck was a major contributor”, explain Ben Barker at Total Health Clinics, “This led us to develop a corporate package to businesses that offered local tailored and cost effective treatment for problems such as these. The skilled clinical assessments meant that any issues could be detected in their early stages and referred quickly, saving future absenteeism or loss in productivity due to the pain.”
The leaders within a business should recognise the cohesive entity that a corporate wellness program is, to function to its fullest capacity it should be embedded seamlessly into the company’s infrastructure seamlessly – this isn’t a band aid fix, this is a long term vision that could result in a motivated, content and engaged workforce and a profitable, highly respected business.