A relatively new challenge for employers is taking care of employees’ health. Experts say that sitting is the new smoking, i.e. harmful to health, as proven by leading companies’ research. CBRE’s global research shows that up to 80% of employees select a new employer or decide to stay with a current employer subject to whether an employer offers workplace wellness programmes.
Wellness programmes are far from new. Companies and researchers have been considering multiple influences for a long time, and have concluded that good health and work efficiency are closely related. Healthy and happy employees have fewer sick days and are more productive – so wellness programmes are often components of healthy offices. Forward-looking successful companies have recognised the shift from sustainable environments to employee-retention environments. And significant demographic and social changes in recent years have led to wellness programmes becoming a top corporate priority.
What is a wellness programme?
It’s a modification of workplace and work activities aimed at supporting good health and the physical and mental well-being of employees - corporate strategic programmes that ensure opportunities for companies to build successful and sustainable businesses. They create an important competitive advantage by reducing employee healthcare costs, eliminating frequent work absences, increasing labour productivity, and retaining talent. Wellness programmes include the mental and physical relaxation of employees.
The workplace where employees spend so much time is also important. That’s also why companies around the world are turning to healthy offices. What does the concept mean? Simply put – healthy offices are modern administrative buildings and premises that meet international values (WELL Building Standard) and emphasize the following factors: optimal air ventilation, good quality water and water intake, sufficient daylight, physical activity (movement), healthy nutrition, and comfort at work.
FIVE DEVELOPMENTS THAT SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF WELLNESS
The importance of launching health programmes has also been shown by numerous global trends. The CBRE Global Workplace Innovation project identified five trends that support the need to introduce workplace wellness programmes. Successful organisations are those that respond by reviewing their approach to wellness, and incorporating both mental and physical health and wellbeing. What are the trends?
Fifty-three percent identified the ‘always on’ culture as another source of stress – with the downside of digital technologies being the relentless pressure to instantly communicate and respond. People reach for the mobile over 150 times a day, and many rarely disconnect for fear of missing out. Yet some companies are taking steps to combat the pressure to remain connected: Volkswagen’s ‘email amnesty’ limits access to work devices after core business hours for most staff; and Daimler has introduced an email auto-delete option for employees on holiday.
Let's finally look at some relatively quick and inexpensive workplace solutions for simple wellness options in the short term. Although it’s important for companies to also address this trend from the comprehensive, long-term perspective.
How can companies promote occupational health?