Are businesses getting workplace wellbeing and fitness right?

It’s an interesting question and one that got me thinking. Anyone who works whether it be for a large conglomerate, a local SME, Employer or Employee, cannot escape the buzz of ‘workplace wellness’. Companies are constantly being told to look after employees; check on their health, check on their mental wellbeing, check on their stress levels; reduce absenteeism, reduce presenteeism, increase productivity, increase morale, increase loyalty. The budgets are there and the willingness, it would seem, is also there but all too often it falls flat. Why?

One possible reason is that employees and employers simply aren’t aware of what is available, of what can be done and what the benefits are. Education of both employer and employee is key.

Another reason seems to be that the incentives are too complicated. Redeemable vouchers for the gym, cash back on a sports massage or contribution towards x, y and z. Outcome? Paperwork +effort (for an already busy and stressed workforce) = no uptake.

Add to this that some Employers through no fault of their own are simply not hiring the right people to undertake and implement their wellness strategies. An annual check on BMI, blood pressure levels with a psychometric test thrown in might tick ‘job done’ until next year but it certainly doesn’t tick’ job well done’. What about the follow up? What about analysing and understanding the results and following it through with action?

It seems to me that this is where it is simply not working for most companies. Data collection doesn’t end with a pretty excel spreadsheet to be filed away – it is simply the beginning. It needs to be examined, acted upon, to be followed through to where it makes a long- term difference and it needs to be made simple and easy. By understanding the needs of your workforce, you retain and improve your workforce and ultimately your business.

In the UK alone each year more than a million working people experience a work related illness that reduced their productivity within work and lead to absenteeism. In 2016/17 this equated to 257 million working days costing the economy an estimated £32 billion. That’s £522 per employee. 1 Frightening figures, right?

Between us, we have to make sure that this isn’t another fad. Workplace health, fitness and wellbeing is essential to employee, to employer and to business. Don’t fall foul and get short changed. This is an opportunity to have a savvy and happy workforce – make sure its yours.