In our day and age, when corporate jobs are becoming the norm instead of the exception, companies are trying to make the working the working environment as comfortable, enjoyable and, most importantly, as healthy as possible. That is because many people find office jobs dull and unstimulating, leading to low productivity and job dissatisfaction.
Tedium is not the only negative factor involved. Office jobs have been linked to many preventable physical conditions such as obesity, heart diseases, cancer, as well as mental conditions like depression and anxiety. This is where corporate wellness programs, which are enjoying rising levels of popularity, come into action to improve the employee’s quality of life, and the workplace in general, with overall great results. Without further ado, here are five subtle benefits of wellness programs for the average workplace.
Corporate Wellness Programs Improve Employee Health Behaviors
It is easy to keep a tight sleep schedule or eat only healthy food for a couple of weeks. Maintaining said healthy habits for an extended period of time and breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors is where the real work begins.
This is where corporate wellness programs come to help through various means and methods. For example, when it comes to implementing structure, many online work or application platforms have started displaying the various benefits of their packages for ease of communication and to let the potential employees right from the get-go what benefits their packages include. While filling out your Burger King application online, you might have noticed that Burger King are promoting wellness programs in an effort to convince their employees that fitness and eating healthy are important for their well-being.
We all know that bad health decisions come in cycles, and in order to break them, a tight routine should be established. We eat junk food because we do not have enough time to cook healthy food. We get insufficient sleep because we spend all day at work and we want to do other stuff besides crashing in the bed.
Corporate wellness programs have the potential to break these cycles if the companies build their company policy around them. Employees will be incentivized to change their habits if companies make an effort to gently introduce these healthy behaviors into their daily routines.
They Prevent Office Related Health Conditions
The effect of sitting down all day and staring at the screen have been known and documented for a while now. Office bound jobs are the cause for many preventable conditions, both physical (obesity, heart diseases, cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes) and mental, like depression and anxiety.
Besides sedentarism, other factors that trigger their occurrence is the overall experience of working in an office environment. People are less willing to eat healthy and sleep well when they spend long hours at the office, chocked by deadlines and endless tasks.
To alleviate the effects of office life, many companies offer free gym memberships, or even install treadmills and other fitness equipment in the breakroom in an effort to keep them healthy and productive (more on that later).
Other measures to improve employee happiness and physical condition is offering free yoga classes, installing pool tables or encouraging employees to play board games in the break room. This has the potential to make going to the office a comfortable, even pleasant part of their daily lives.
Work Productivity is Improved
Absently clicking through the day, pretending to do work is a part of many office employees lives. Experts have even coined a term for this type of behavior, called ‘’presenteeism’’. We have all done it at some point in our lives, and for good reason. No matter how passionate we are about our jobs, office work can get very dull, very fast.
In fact, tedium is not the only cause of presenteeism. Various estimations confirm that the cost of presenteeism due to poor employee health is 2 to 3 times greater than direct health care expenses.
Further on, this research paper revealed that smokers are 28 % more likely to have poor work productivity than non-smokers, while employees who have poor diets are 66 % more likely than those who ate fruits, vegetables and whole grains on a daily basis.
Absenteeism is Decreased
A tedious and stressful work environment causes both presenteeism and absenteeism. But corporate wellness programs, if implemented intelligently, have the potential to decrease both of these phenomenon.
The reasons are easy to understand. Simply put, employees who are not obese, stressed, and do not suffer from health conditions such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose are less likely to miss work. In other words, if you, as a company, make an effort to keep your employees healthy both from a mental and physical standpoint, they will not have any health-related reasons to call in sick.
They Help Establish Meaningful Connections
By promoting health and fitness through a wellness program, the company can educate its employees and incentivize them to make better lifestyle choices. Generally, individuals are more willing to change when they see that people around them are making a concerted effort to live better lives. They are even more willing to change if their action is part of a collective effort.
Organizing weight-loss contests or encouraging employees to quit smoking for a preset period of time for some charitable cause are surefire ways to improve the employee’s moods and give them a sense of collective appurtenance and, most importantly, a purpose they can dedicated themselves to mentally, physical, emotionally and socially. Moreover, working together to accomplish a common is a great opportunity to form strong bonds with one another.
Corporate wellness programs have many beneficial effects both on the workplace and the employees. It has been proven that these programs, which are becoming more and more popular as we speak, have the potential to change people’s lives for the better by preventing various work-related diseases and their overall job satisfaction.
Alex Moore is a Psychology Undergraduate with an interest in the workplace's social dynamics and its long-term effects on people. To him, the rise of wellness culture and its future prove very intriguing.