By Kristine Thomas
We hear the words “workplace wellness” more and more frequently these days, and that buzz will only continue. While this may seem like another trend that will eventually pass, I assure you it is not. Not when the Harvard Business Review tells us the average company is receiving a $2.71 return for every dollar invested in wellness programming.
As one who lives a health-focused lifestyle herself, I recognize the clear impact healthy living has on both my health and my business. Focusing not only on your own health, but the health and well-being of your employees, will have an exponential effect on your business success.
Your time is valuable, and time spent not performing at your best or out of commission due to illness is costly. How does that translate to your employees? According to the Harvard Business Review, more employees in the United States are working when they are sick, costing employers about $150 billion to $250 billion annually. But by keying in on your own health and the health of your employees, you can begin to see an increase in productivity or “present-eeism.”
And while higher productivity can translate to higher earnings, the old adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” rings true. If we can begin to prevent poor health among employees, we can help curb the nearly $2,250 lost per employee per year due to absenteeism and sickness.
With so many employees going to see the doctor and receiving one prescription after another, we need to ask who is paying for this. Nearly 55 percent of Americans receive insurance through their employers, who are also paying the majority of the premium costs. Roughly three-quarters of these payments go to treat chronic illness, which is most often related to diet and lifestyle choices and is often preventable.
Fortunately, not only does implementing wellness efforts in the workplace have a financial benefit, but in the war to attract talent, it may also give your company a more competitive advantage. The culture of an organization is now likely to be the deciding factor for millennials, who are coming into the workforce looking for organizations whose cultures match their own lifestyle aspirations.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau/Department of Labor, there will be 23 million jobs in the United States that can not be filled by 2020. Intelligence Group also cites that 64 percent of millennials would accept a lower-paying job they enjoyed when compared to a higher-paying job in a stale environment. Beyond rolling out a yoga mat or putting out a fruit bowl, few companies are doing what needs to be done right now to position themselves appropriately. Most believe it will not affect them and expect their brand or reputation to carry them. This is a costly mistake.
However, when your employees understand how much you care about their personal well-being, they develop a loyalty to your brand. By creating an environment and culture that emphasizes personal wellness, you can more affectively attract and maintain a dedicated and more productive workforce that will ultimately enhance your bottom line.