The days when employers considered prioritizing employee health as simply a humane gesture are slowly fading. Today, businesses are realizing how immensely staff health (mental and physical) contributes directly to business performance, and are taking the necessary steps to promote wellness in their workplaces.
Recent statistics show that as of last year (2023), a whopping 81% of employers incorporating wellness programs now prioritize stress management resources for their workforce. A healthy workforce is more engaged, focused, innovative, and productive, boosting business performance in many ways.
One way businesses are prioritizing employee health is by creating a positive company culture. The correlation between employee health and business success is a critical aspect that is beginning to get the attention it deserves. Businesses are now focusing on creating a positive and healthy workplace environment that places prime concern on the worker’s well-being.
The target is slowly shifting from simply improving mental health to creating a holistic approach to employee health. The well-documented detrimental effects of a high-pressure work culture appear to be the main fuel behind this move. Studies show that high-pressure companies experience 50% greater healthcare expenditures, and work-related stress contributes to significant financial losses, not to mention a myriad of health issues. The more stressed workers are, the less engaged they become, causing worker absenteeism to increase while leading to high accidents and error rates.
With more focus on positive company culture, businesses are beginning to lower sickness rates, boost faster recovery, reduce depression, and ensure that workers continue to perform at their peak.
Employers are also putting more resources into employee health programs to combat issues about frequent sick days, low energy levels, decreased alertness, increased mistakes, and a generally poor attitude to work. Other programs are addressing stress, work-related burnout, a lack of engagement, and poor output, as these ultimately hurt most companies’ bottom line. The most obvious benefit of initiating a robust health program is that it allows workers to address their health concerns as soon as possible so they can resume work.
A well-thought-through plan also shows the employer’s commitment to workers, fostering a sense of mutual support and care. The result? Workers are more willing to remain loyal to their employers and give their best because they’re happier and feel more satisfied with their jobs. But aside from the emotional and mental benefits, spending on employee wellness programs offers immense financial benefits for organizations, as it creates a turnover rate hiking up to 60%. That means companies adopting health programs are less likely to spend money and resources hiring new workers too often.
There’s also a slowly growing case for gaming in the workplace. A few decades ago, the thought of playing games at the workplace was almost impossible, as most employers considered it time-wasting and unproductive. Today, businesses are opening up to the several benefits of gaming in a work environment. Games help to create a relaxed company culture, allowing employees to see their work environment as more than just a stressful place to labor. Businesses are beginning to add games to their offices as a way of signifying that they trust their employees’ ability to manage their work and playing time.
Of course, for this to work, there should be a structured way of incorporating games or gaming in the workplace so it doesn’t interfere with normal work. When done right, games can motivate workers, engage them, and help them recover from stress more quickly. They always offer a welcome break from the long and intensive working hours. They can range from something as simple as playing spades to other games like office trivia and charades.
There is also a growing rise in the importance and expectations of empathetic leadership. More than half (58%) of employees recently surveyed said they would consider leaving their jobs if their leaders failed to empathize with staff needs. It may not sound like it’s health or wellness-related, but it is. Listening to employees is an invaluable part of improving staff health. Empathetic leaders listen attentively, validate emotions, and show their support when needed. This leadership style creates a safe working environment where every worker feels included, understood, and valued.
This leadership style is noted for fostering stronger relationships with workers, boosting morale, improving mental health, and enhancing overall team performance. Aside from its obvious humanitarian benefits, empathetic leadership makes strategic business sense for several reasons. For example, it improves employee retention, as the previously mentioned stat shows. It also gives insight into what issues a worker could be facing which is denting their productivity. This insight allows employers to tackle poor performance by addressing the root causes instead of firing workers and hiring new ones.
It gives employers a chance to know their workers better, understand their weaknesses, and determine the best ways to empower their staff to perform at their best. This is a win-win situation as the company discovers valuable employee insight for free while the latter gets to have their voices heard and feel a greater sense of value and inclusion.