The importance of proper workplace safety policies and guidelines cannot be understated – but does your business also have a wellness program in place?
Workplace wellness programs are focused on providing facilities, education and opportunities for staff to live healthier lives and adopt healthier choices.
And the benefits of implementing a proper wellness program can lead to healthier, happier staff members as well as a raft of benefits for the employer.
The impact of unwell staff
Staff members who are unable to come to work for health reasons impact your bottom line, with the cost of absenteeism to the Australian economy now exceeding $32.5 billion per annum in payroll and lost productivity costs.
For individual businesses, that equates to $347 per day, per sick employee according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.
A healthier workplace can lead to less sick days, fewer cases of chronic illness and better morale across the board.
It has also been proven that a strong workplace wellness program can improve staff engagement, which leads to positive including:
How you can assist your staff with wellbeing programs
Preventative measures can help your staff live healthier lives, become more likely to talk about their stress levels and mental health concerns and become more focused and engaged in the workplace.
It is important to recognise and understand the specific needs of your workforce, which you can achieve through these six steps outlined by Great Place to Work Australia:
- Strong leadership: to change the culture across the board, leaders and managers need to buy into the wellness culture and inspire their staff.
- Time: don’t try and force change quickly, the process needs to be natural and organic and culture change does take time.
- Think beyond the obvious: staff need to be inspired, otherwise they will not take part. Design a wellbeing program that is creative and engaging and give them a reason to want to take part.
- Accessibility: try and make as much of the program low or no-cost as possible to allow access to all staff members.
- Create partnerships: striking a deal with your local health food vendors and gyms etc is a great way to boost both businesses and encourage staff to engage in wellbeing programs.
- Communication: how you present your wellbeing program is crucial, as staff are not likely to engage if they feel forced.
Here are some wellbeing program suggestions that could benefit your staff
- Access to fitness programs: whether it is an an-inhouse gym or subsidised access to local providers, this will give staff an incentive to improve their health and fitness.
- Quiet spaces: sometimes people just need a quiet space to be able to focus on their work and be free of distractions. This can also extend to spaces where staff can take a break, relax, do yoga, meditate or any other wellness method they choose to get their mind back on track.
- Free medical assistance: offering free, onsite flu vaccinations and services like counselling to assist with mental health can make an enormous difference.
- Reward achievements: provide incentives that encourage your staff to share their big moments and be proud of what they have achieved to improve morale.
- Incorporate wellness into rewards: when providing rewards, prizes or other incentives try to issue items like gym memberships and other goods and services that are beneficial for wellbeing.
- Encourage team activities: fitness can be fun when your company provides dedicated sporting or fun days where staff can involve their family as well. This is a huge boost for fitness but for morale-building as well.
Remember, there is no magic formula for workplace wellbeing and you need to assess your team and identify the issues that need to be addressed.
You will be glad that you did, with the reward being a happy, healthy and engaged workforce.