As a workforce, we face more pressures than ever before. According to the CIPD ’s Health and Wellbeing at Work report, up to 40 per cent of the UK workforce’s sickness absence is due to mental ill health. And shockingly, one in six working-aged people are experiencing mental ill health at any given time.
Finding the balance
The question we need to answer is, are we ever really away from work? Do we ever truly switch off? How can we effectively manage our work/ life integration? These are BIG questions and the answer will differ from person to person, company to company.
Thankfully there is something employers can do to ensure their workforce is fit, happy and performing well. The solution? A powerful corporate wellbeing programme, that is closely woven into a strong company culture or new commitment to mission, purpose and values.
A worthwhile investment
For every £1 invested into workplace wellbeing there’s a potential ROI of between £1.50 and £9.
In case you’re in any doubt of the value of such programmes, consider the wealth of research showing that employee engagement has a positive impact on your bottom line. For every £1 invested into workplace wellbeing there’s a potential ROI of between £1.50 and £9.
What’s more, CIPD stats suggest healthy and highly engaged employees are, on average, up to 30 days more productive. Organisations promoting health and wellbeing are also 3.5 times more likely to be creative and innovative.
Champion the individual
But wellness shouldn’t be a universal, catch-all solution. Every employee’s journey to a healthier lifestyle is unique, and it should be treated as such.
For example, person A might love the gym. They might work out and keep fit regularly and, as such, talking to them about taking 10,000 steps a day will be a waste of time. On the other hand, Person B might want to get more active but be unsure how and when to start. This employee could benefit hugely from a webinar about walking, or some guidance on simple at-home exercises.
A bespoke solution
Digital platforms are ideal here, because they enable employees to create and host personalised experiences. Individuals can have access to all the wellbeing support, help and advice that they need in one place, whether that relates to nutrition, exercise or mindfulness.
The technology can also be used to help connect workers with similar health and wellness interests, as well as supporting and rewarding individual progress.
Without doubt, employers can expect to see higher participation rates with a more personalised approach to employee wellness. And it’s the businesses that prioritise this personalisation that will be the true winners.
The key to launching and managing a good and effective wellbeing initiative is also ongoing measurement and evaluation – starting before you launch.
Informed business decisions
Numerous employers and employees have participated in a wellness week, which probably consisted of a healthy breakfast one day, free smoothies another and a yoga class on the third. Did this make a significant impact on the health and happiness of your employees? Perhaps? Do you really know?
With the right digital platform, the person responsible for wellness within the company will be able to see at any given moment how teams are engaging with the initiative, including what’s popular and what people don’t like.
This in turn helps you ascertain the impact the platform is having on the teams, enabling you to track the efficacy of your programme. You can also look at different department, age, gender and even location-specific data. The dashboard we at Hero provide offers invaluable insight that senior managers can use to make informed and rational business decisions.
This upcoming year should prove to be an exciting one for workplace wellness. Are you set up to succeed in 2019 and beyond?
Joe Gaunt is founder and CEO of Hero Wellbeing, a digital wellness company that works with organisations to provide preventative strategies and support across physical, mental and social health.
Sophie Barton is our Features Editor. She a journalist and editor with 17 years’ experience in the national media, specialising in wellbeing and lifestyle.