A Healthy Benefit

2015 has truly been a year for health; the sugar debate rages on, life insurance policies  now incentivise and reward for efforts to increase and fitness and corporate wellness is trickling into UK business culture.

There has been some eye opening statistics brought to public attention in recent months and they make for interesting reading, the findings include:

  • Employees that exercise 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time were 15% more likely to have a higher job performance
  • Those who ate a healthy and varied diet were 25% more likely to have a higher job performance
  • Healthy employees had a rate of absenteeism that was 27% lower of those that didn’t have a healthy lifestyle.
  • Overweight employees had a higher rate of absenteeism than those suffering from chronic diseases

With these stats in mind, it’s no wonder that employers have sat up and smelt the proverbial bacon (or turkey bacon in this case!), with workforce sickness costing the UK in excess of £20 million each year, employers want to find the right solutions to battle the cost of sickness and the impact it has on the business – the case for implementing a corporate wellness strategy is strong.

Fit and healthy employees are confident, motivated and energetic, they also demonstrate the ability to set goals and work hard to achieve them, along with being disciplined and focused. All of these traits are positive attributes to the workplace – confident and motivated employees are likely to influence the mind set and positivity of their colleagues, cultivating a great working atmosphere.

For employees who aren’t interested in health and fitness, introducing a corporate wellness culture may be a real challenge at times and the difficulty lies in the execution, but it’s not a band aid – it’s a long term investment into the health of your staff, and ultimately, your business. Although many of us are more conscious of our health, the stress of juggling demanding careers and family life can impact on the way that it our health is prioritised. We spend one 3rd of our lives at work, so having a wellness program provided ‘on-site’ will encourage employees to make their health and fitness a priority.

There are small changes that can be made, switching drinks vending machines offering sugary goods that will contribute towards the highs and lows throughout the day, for a water cooler and providing staff with branded water bottles. Having healthy and satisfying snacks readily available will prevent staff reaching for a quick energy fix that often comes in the form of junk food. If you are to take this seriously, take the time to research and truly learn about what good nutrition looks like – we have been so uneducated over the years that more often than not, what we believe to be healthy, is in fact the total opposite!

Despite the number of smokers having declined in recent years, the habit still has an impact on workforce productivity and profitability; smoking breaks are reported to cost £5 billion per year. Putting in place programs to support smokers in quitting will have multiple benefits to both smokers and their colleagues; with the introduction of E Cigarettes being reported as to having aided the percentage of those who have been able to quit, a designated area set aside for vaping would be a true act of support. In addition to this, there has been new statistics released this week that show how little of an effect vaping has on fitness, so supporting a switch from smoking to vaping would not hinder your efforts in other areas of a wellness program.

There are a number of health insurance programs introduced by employers for their staff that offer its members rewards to making a conscious effort to increase the state of their health and improve their fitness. By offering reduced price gym memberships, reduced price fitness wearables and a points system that connects to technology and mobile applications to monitor the amount of exercise undertaken and the types of food bought staff are encouraged to completely make over their lifestyles in exchange for money off flights and holidays, spa breaks, or free treats like cinema tickets and premium coffees.

We all want employees to enjoy their working environment and atmosphere, by encouraging them to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle results in a confident, motivated and energetic team, creating a productive and profitable business.

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