In an era of unicorns and a bustling startup culture, 80 hour work weeks and stretched out workdays are acclaimed. Far too often, this overtime becomes unrealistic benchmarks resulting in burnout and disrupting the work-life balance. For instance, a recent study on 7,500 full-time employees found that a total of 67% of employees reported feeling burned out at work.
Similarly, the 2019 Workforce Attitudes Towards Behavior Health Report released by Ginger states that 50% of employees missed at least one day of work due to stress. This study further discovers that for 85% of them, employee wellness benefits are a significant consideration when evaluating a new job opportunity.
Many companies who focus on building a healthy workplace culture, have robust wellness programs in place. According to a Harvard Business School study, employee absenteeism expenses fell by $2.73 for every dollar invested in workplace wellness programs.
Health, fitness, nutrition and behavioural health management have become priorities of these top organisations. HRs even consider preventive healthcare and emotional wellness as an essential component of the rewards and compensation packages.
Wellness Benefits: Helping Enhance Employee Experience
In addition to managing burnouts, various studies indicate how these wellness programs impact the overall employee experience in many ways.
Lower employee healthcare costs
Decreasing an employee’s monthly healthcare expenditures has a direct impact these benefits have on the employee experience. A year on year comparison of healthcare costs help derive the immediate annual financial savings of wellness benefits. For instance, H-E-B conducted an internal analysis of their annual healthcare claims and found that health expenses were $1,500 higher amongst non-participants of their workplace wellness program than participants. In another example, for every dollar SAS spent to operate its onsite healthcare centre in 2009, it generated $1.41 in health plan savings.
The decreased healthcare expenditures correlate to reduced illness-related absenteeism that directly affects productivity. The less obvious but more significant impact is that of improved ‘presenteeism’—when despite coming to work, employees underperform due to physical illness or mental stress. A 2009 study by Dr Ronald Loeppke on 50,000 workers show that lost productivity costs are 2.3 times higher than medical and pharmacy costs. Many health conditions such as respiratory illnesses, depression, migraines, anxiety, arthritis, back pains and diabetes contribute to lost productivity.
Wellness benefits have a significant impact on employee’s morale and organisational citizenship behaviour beyond the hard-dollar benefits. These benefits help strengthen the organisation culture and help engage employees - since these represent the extent to which the organisation genuinely cares about their wellbeing. A study on wellness benefits witnessed how 57% of employees with high health risk reached low-risk status by completing a worksite cardiac rehabilitation and exercise program - talking loud and clear of the impact of these programs.
Improved trust and commitment
Healthcare is a very personal issue for employees and the fact that their employers take genuine efforts to take part in it - contributes to nurturing employee trust. Workplace wellness programs prove to be effective only when the employee, as well as the employers, are committed to it. Investments in wellness programs can help create deep bonds between the employees and employers.
Top 5 trends in workplace wellness programs
Many organisations have grown to understand the importance of workplace wellness programs and have even adapted technology to improve delivery efficiencies drastically.
Fitness Programs and Merchandise
Organisations offer fully/ partly discounted memberships for fitness programs and merchandise from renowned fitness providers. These work-out memberships turn out to be advantageous for both employees and employers because while the employees get trained by experts, employers save costs on gym setup and maintenance. Cult.fit, for instance, offers various workout formats for the employee to choose from, depending on their interests that can be availed from any of their branches. Snapfitness aims at enhancing emotional wellness, improving employee health and even helps teams with improving their cohesion. Fitternity offers a wide range of fitness schemes - be it yoga, gyms, pilates or Zumba. Urban Energy offers classes and personal training in Dubai, with aspeciality in pre and post natal fitness.
Health Packages & Tele-consultation
Health consultations - whether it is preventive or during an illness - form an essential part of the wellness programs. Modern technology enables doctors to provide teleconsultation - thus immensely improving the delivery of these consultations. CVS Pharmacy offers prescription medications and health care products online. Hello Alvin provides online doctor services 24/7 from any device, across US. Docsapp helps you find a doctor online for tele-consultation in a matter of minutes. Tata Health helps find the closest doctor to the employee based on their location, online consultation, lab tests and medicines.
Sponsoring vacations and experiences are growingly popular way organisations help promote employee’s emotional well being by assisting them in unwinding from work. Spafinder Wellness 365™ has worldwide network of over 20,000 spas, salons, fitness, yoga and pilates studios and travel destinations world-wide. Spa & Wellness Gift Card by spaweek.com is accepted at over 9,000 spa and wellness facilities across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Taj Experiences gift cards are pre-loaded with experience points and are a great way to provide luxurious experiences to employees from across all Taj hotels. Four fountains de-stress spa offers individual spa therapies for pain, sleep or fatigue. De La Mer Spa offers gift cards that can be redeemed relaxation and rejuvenation, from a location in the heart of Jumeirah.
Health insurances and covers are a critical component of an employee wellness program and technology have enabled insurance providers to enhance their offerings. Symbo insurance offers the best cost health insurance packages based on employee needs. Tata health helps employees deal with medical emergencies and hospitalisation charges.
Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Weight Loss
Offering great options to promote healthy eating through nutritious menu options and diet plans from partners like Cult, Freshmenu, Zomato are a great way to encourage employee fitness.
On-Premises Yoga and Health Activities
Conducting yoga classes and health activities in the workplace can help employees de-stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Plum can help you deliver your Employee Wellness Program
Xoxoday offers Plum, an e-benefit platform that hosts various health and wellness campaigns for employees. Plum aggregates hand-picked service providers and gives you deals with creating great benefits packages for employees.