How businesses can have effective wellness programs

employee assistance programmes

Around the world, employees are experiencing chronic stress and unproductivity due to their work. In 2019, workplace-related stress has caused 54% of long-term absences.

The stress and mental health issues that employees are suffering from are now starting to be addressed by companies through a variety of wellness programs.

Wellness benefits usually include things like culinary events, meditation sessions, or weekly afternoon yoga. Forbes reports that in the UK, it’s estimated that only 45% of companies currently offer workplace wellness programs. With work stress increasing more needs to be done by companies to help their employees.

Here is how more businesses can have effective workplace wellness schemes.

Mandatory leaves

While meditation rooms, free overtime meals, or a Friday night ‘round of drinks all sounds well and good, the reality is that they don’t do much to help employee wellbeing. What does help however is being away from the office and allowing your employees to recharge in whatever way they see fit. Only 40% of UK workers use their full holiday quotas, with many saving their leaves because of the monetary incentive of doing so. However, this system could be a key contributor to the high rates of burnout and chronic stress. Giving your employees mandatory leaves ensures that your staff gets the time off they need to work better.

Company-wide fitness challenges

On average 40% of UK employees spend a maximum of 15 minutes outside during the work day. This means that most workers aren’t getting enough time away from the office. Susan Cartwright is a professor at Lancaster University and is focusing on organisational psychology and wellbeing. She told the BBC that “exercise produced more immediate and long-lasting benefits” compared to meditation rooms or on-site masseurs and haircuts. This could explain why 38% of employers are organising company-wide fitness competitions and challenges that workers are encouraged to join.

Global endurance challenges like Tough Mudder provide employees with a community that promotes personal accomplishment and teamwork through overcoming obstacle courses. The experience is catching on with more than 2.5 million participants globally to date. Save the Children claims that there are currently 22 Tough Mudder events taking place in various locations up and down the UK. These types of events where people need to work together to reach a common goal are beneficial not just for employee fitness, but also for team dynamics. Fitness challenges offer an avenue for your team to bond outside of the office while ensuring that they’re staying active and healthy.

Work-from-home days

Instead of investing in trying to make the office feel like a home, it’s more advisable to get your employees to work from their homes. Allow your employees to work from home a day or two each week. You might even find that the quality of work they do on their away day is better than when they’re in the office. Cartwright goes on to say that most people that do flexible working, actually work more and feel a sense of gratitude to their employer. Moreover, companies that do launch flexible working options are even able to save on office expenses for a few days a week. Employees who don’t have to contend with a gruelling commute each morning are more positive about their work, increasing professional wellbeing.