Our Top 3 Reasons For Investing in your Employees
It’s the new year and many of us are focused on making changes to improve our health by joining in with increasingly popular campaigns like ‘Veganuary’ and ‘Dry January’, but have you stopped to consider how work contributes to a person’s overall wellbeing? Approximately 75% of adults in the UK are employed and, on average, they spend a third of their waking hours in the workplace. That’s a significant number of hours that have a direct impact on stress and energy levels, happiness and motivation. As a business, it’s important to ensure that your employees are healthy and happy and here’s why.
1 . Attract & retain top talent in the marketplace
According to a report by Eleventy Marketing Group, 70% of millennials said that a company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) would factor into their decision to work there. CSR not only addresses a company’s commitment to protecting the environment but also to supporting their community and employees. Employees are expecting far more from their employees when it comes to their wellbeing and so the introduction of corporate wellness programs and flexible working can help to reduce staff turnover.
2 . Improve mental health
The recognition of mental health and its significance in our society has definitely increased in recent years. In fact, according to a government study last year, 11.5% of sickness absences were a result of mental health issues, including stress, depression and anxiety. This was the second cause of sickness absence across the UK, resulting in a staggering 15.8 million days lost. Designing office spaces that promote health and wellbeing or investing in your staff through wellness schemes can help to improve mental health and create a more productive, motivated and healthy workforce.
3 . Trust the experts
Ok, so you may have gotten to this point and don’t necessarily disagree with any of the above but at the same time, you’re wondering whether this is just the latest craze. Let’s take a look at the findings from the annual ‘Britain’s Healthiest Workplace’ competition which is conducted in partnership with the Financial Times and Mercer. The 2017 survey included 31,950 employees from 167 organisations and the results are really rather interesting. To cover just a few:
- Employees who are able to work flexibly and/or from home lose less working hours due to absence and presenteeism, do more physical activity and feel significantly less fatigue than those who don’t. Wellness programmes offering on-site gyms, fitness classes and support for walking or cycling to work can significantly improve activity levels.
- 72% of employees with significant financial concerns suffer from work-related stress compared to the survey average of only 54%. Employers offering staff discounts or short terms loans for season tickets can help to alleviate this stress.
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep was also linked to absenteeism and productivity. Respondents who sleep less than 6 hours a night tend to lose more than twice as many working hours compared with those who sleep more than 7 hours. Companies like Nasa, Google and Uber have been installing sleep pods in their offices and the law firm, White & Case, found that these pods are being used between 5 and 8 times per day by staff in their Washington DC office.
- 5 productive days a year are lost by employees with poor diets. Reducing fat intake to a healthy range can reduce work impairment by up to 2.5 days per year. Companies like UK insurance provider, Phoenix Group have worked to stock locally sourced, healthy meals at their company restaurant in Birmingham. What’s more, they work to educate employees on nutritional information and portion advice by showing them how long it might take to walk off a particular meal choice.
Interested in reading the full study? Click here.
I’m certain that the topic of wellness in our buildings and workplaces is not set to disappear any time soon, and as the benefits become simpler to quantify, employers will surely see the sense in prioritising their employees to create a happy and healthy working environment.