There’s a well-known secret among executives: A company’s most valuable asset are its employees.
A successful company relies heavily on its human capital, and ensuring that employees are performing at their peak productivity is essential for continued success.
According to a research study by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank, good health “plays a large role in employee productivity.” The institute’s researchers concluded that common chronic diseases are responsible for $1.1 trillion in lost productivity annually to the U.S. economy. These losses are attributable to both absenteeism or when employees come to work but are distracted to the point of reduced efficiency for either physical or emotional reasons, better known as “presenteeism.”
To address these issues and differentiate themselves to attract top talent, employers have started to incorporate workplace wellness programs into their existing benefits packages. While some companies may still view employee enrichment programs as an interchangeable expense, others are increasingly adopting the stance that human capital investment is a mutually beneficial strategic contribution to both employees and the broader organization.
Studies: Health and wellness programs in the workplace pay off
Not surprisingly, based on a 2013 study by RAND Corporation, annual wellness program spending has risen to $6 billion and continues to grow in popularity among companies as their employees demonstrate improved morale, productivity and loyalty within the workplace.
Investing in employee health and wellness not only benefits workers, but is also estimated to have a longer-term positive financial impact on organizations by reducing direct costs incurred by employers in connection with medical insurance offerings. Research suggests that there is a bottom line benefit to be gained from properly implementing a wellness culture. In the study “Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings,” conducted by professors at Harvard University, the cost-benefit ratio showed savings from workplace wellness programs far exceeded their initial cost, with medical-cost savings averaging $3.27 per dollar invested, and absenteeism savings averaging $2.73 per dollar invested.
Workplace wellness programs may vary from company to company. For example, while some organizations have elected to reimburse their employees a portion of their gym-membership dues, other organizations have implemented on-premise fitness classes.
Offering workplace yoga classes, for instance, is a great way to begin implementing a wellness program because, in addition to serving both the mind and body, yoga at work can be practiced in tight spaces and with minimal equipment. Plus bringing in an instructor to teach classes after work can help employees improve their overall health — including productivity and mental clarity — while reducing levels of stress.
Benefits of employee health wellness programs
Millions of Americans have jobs that keep them tied to a desk for most of the day. This may add to a already sedentary lifestyle that can be more harmful to the body than smoking. Incorporating some movement over the course of a day can have a major impact on someone’s overall wellness. By making yoga classes at work accessible to all employees, employers provide an immediately available outlet for physical activity and ensure that employees are able to incorporate fitness into their daily routines.
Yoga has also been known to help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure and may also help alleviate chronic conditions such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
“Yoga is for everyone,” said Dina Ivas, a professional workplace Yoga and group-fitness instructor. “You don’t have to be super flexible to enjoy the benefits. I know the word ‘Yoga’ may sound intimidating, but I’ve seen so many of my students flourish and feel so much healthier after incorporating a regular yoga practice into their lives.”
Wellness programs for employees reduce stress
Juggling work, family and other activities can lead to increased stress levels. Based on APA’s 2012 Stress in America survey, stress keeps more than 40 percent of adults awake at night. Yoga, however, has been proven to be a great stress reliever.
With most adults spending a significant portion of their waking hours in the workplace, fostering a company culture that promotes healthy lifestyles and an appropriate work-play balance can have a powerful positive influence on its employees and, ultimately, reap financial benefits for the broader organization as well.
For more information on Corporate Yoga programs in Australia:
Email: Sydney Corporate Yoga
Tel: 1300 677 925