Workplace Wellness

This is How Healthy Employees Benefit the Workplace

Written by Kateri

If you think about the times people are most productive, it’s normally when they love what they are doing and are happy. It’s the same with work. If you provide a way for your employees to engage in activities or events that make them happier, overall productivity will increase. Employees who are engaged and emotionally connected to their jobs are also the workers reporting healthy lifestyles, which leads to positive change in the workplace.

Over the past year, companies have had to shift their efforts to focus on the health of the employees. The workplace is no longer operating under the past 9 to 5, in office, 40+ hour work weeks. Employees are asking for more flexibility when it comes to working from home, wellness benefits that motivates them to stay active and an offering that they can use as a resource to change their lifestyle habits.

Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.

  • Benefits of Healthy Employees
  • Do Healthy Employees Perform Better?
  • Encouraging Healthy Habits
  • How to Gauge Your Employees Health
Healthy Eating at Work

What are the benefits of healthy employees?

Having a healthy workforce is crucial to your company’s overall success. Introducing wellness programs to your employees is the perfect way to start focusing on employee health while also promoting healthier lifestyle habits. Wellness programs help focus on behavioral changes that contribute to healthier, happier employees.

Worksite wellness programs offer incentives or benefits to employees for making healthy lifestyle choices. They support employees by encouraging behavioral changes that will result in better health outcomes in their lives. When workers are given the opportunities to change their lifestyle habits, everyone benefits. Having a healthy workplace not only helps improve ROI but also benefits employees emotional, physical, and mental health. The 4 main benefits of healthy employers are:

  1. Improve Employee Morale

Employee morale plays a big role in efficiency at work, retention, and overall outlook on the company. It is the “satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being an employee has while at work.” So, when employees are offered a wellness program, they have the opportunities to engage in something that’s positive and are more likely to have higher morale. The higher the morale, the more satisfied an individual is with their job and the better the overall work environment is for everyone.

  1. Increased Productivity

Having a healthier workforce can lead to increased productivity. The less time a worker has to spend going to the doctor, taking sick days or coming to work unhappy, the more productive they are during the work day. According to a study by Brigham Young University, the employees with healthy eating habits were expected to be 25% more productive, the ones who exercised at least 3x a week were “15% more likely to have better job performance,” and the overall absenteeism rate for employees who ate healthy and exercised was 27% lower when compared to colleagues who didn’t practice these habits.”

  1. Better Recruitment and Retention

When operating in a competitive job market, any organization that is offering a wellness program will automatically be in a better position compared to those who don’t. In a study conducted by Virgin Health Miles/Workforce Magazine, around 87% of employees stated that they highly considered the health and wellness benefits offered when deciding between jobs and “more than half of Gen Z and millennials consider wellness programs important or extremely important in the job decision.”

As far as employee retention, employees are more likely to stay at their current company when they feel like the organization is invested in creating a happier, healthier workplace and supports their journey to creating healthy habits. A lot of the time, work is very stressful for employees. Offering a program that reduces stress contributes to employees overall happiness which leads to improved worker retention.

  1. Reduced Healthcare and Insurance Costs

Lastly, supporting healthy employees lowers a company’s healthcare and insurance costs. According to the CDC’s review of 56 published studies regarding workplace wellness programs showed that organizations that are implementing wellness initiatives save up to 25% on healthcare costs and absenteeism. As for insurance costs, healthier employees have lower health risks which lowers insurance premiums. In the end, having healthy employees benefits both the employer and the employees. Keep reading to see how you can encourage employees to be healthier! 

Do Healthy Employees Perform Better? 

In most situations, employees are more likely to feel encouraged to be more productive, happier at work, stay at their current job longer and recommend the company as a good place to work when they feel support from senior leaders. Staying invested in your employees health can reduce their overall stress levels, time spent out of the office and increase the amount of work getting done. In addition to providing health initiatives, there are other ways to improve productivity that can go hand-in-hand with health programs. One valuable solution is to offer flexible work hours or one-day remote working each week! Opportunities like these allow for employees to recharge, create a good work/life balance and make a world of difference in their performance.

Encouraging Healthy Habits

Culture

When you are looking for ways to encourage healthy habits, be sure to take note of the company culture. If the environment employees are working in promotes the healthy living like the benefits of healthy eating, taking part in physical activity and how a healthy lifestyle can improve their job performance (you can use digital signage to inform employees about a healthy lifestyle to make it easy for them), workers are more likely to change their habits. One way to communicate this information to your employees is through weekly or monthly newsletters. Email blasts are a great way to educate workers on these benefits, share healthy recipes, creative ways to move more throughout the day and any other fun ideas you can come up with!

Incentives

Tying an incentive to healthy activities, like exercising, eating fruits/vegetables, etc., is another effective way to encourage healthy habits. Wellness programs that offer incentives can encourage more employees to engage in the program and take the necessary steps to developing healthier habits. They keep the employees motivated throughout the year and are a practical way to reward healthy living. But, what incentives should you offer? Here are some examples:

  • Gift cards
  • Discounts or reimbursements for fitness club memberships
  • Extra day of PTO
  • Weekly raffles for participants
  • 3 month subscription to a wellness platform

Wellness Programs

As we touched on above, wellness programs are crucial for supporting healthy employees. First, your company will decide what type of program they want to run and how they’ll manage it. Wellness programs can consist of challenges, rewards and activities, gym reimbursements, health screenings and more! With a wellness program, companies show their support and investment in the employees health, reduce the amount stress in the workplace, promotes better teamwork and creates a happier, healthier workforce.

How to Gauge Employees Health

There are a couple different ways an employer can gauge how healthy their employees are and what areas they should improve first. First, as part of your wellness program, you can ask employees to complete a health risk assessment. This will allow the employer to collect health information from each of the employees and assess health status, areas of concern and habits for each individual. In most cases, a HRA is paired with biometric testing. Biometric testing is a screening tool used to provide information about an individual’s health through the use physical measurements and biometric data.

More reading

To see how you can implement a Wellness Challenge at your workplace, check out this article.

Interested in what wellness benefits look like? Check out the “Definitive Corporate Wellness Landscape” for a high-level view of all of the options on the market right now! (Pro tip: look for the comparison table to which products are most common with companies your size.)

Take our three-part Wellness Foundations Webinar Series for HR managers to learn more about corporate wellness. It’s a kickstart for anyone who wants (or needs) to dive head first into the industry. 

Interested in speaking with a benefits expert for more one-on-one support? Schedule an introductory call with IncentFit. We’ll learn a bit more about your company’s unique needs and point you in the right direction.