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The Well Workplace: Why should Business Care?

October 13, 2017

The short answer is because an unwell workplace is costly and less productive. And there is a high prevalence of poor health among employees in developed countries throughout the world. Increasing risk factors such as physical inactivity, stress, smoking, high-risk alcohol use, unhealthy eating habits and fatigue, are common among employees and result in a wide range of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, muscle and joint disorders and a host of other chronic diseases. The World Economic Forum has documented the negative impacts of large scale poor health in organizations . They include loss in productivity, increased absenteeism, disability and injuries and an overall reduced workplace effectiveness, work quality and customer service.

On the other hand, organizations that have implemented robust health and wellness programs to help employees reduce disease risk factors and manage existing conditions have documented many benefits. These include increased productivity ( lower absenteeism and improved performance and skills), cost reduction (lower accidents, injuries and benefits costs), recruitment and retention ( improved retention rates and employee engagement) and profit ( lower turnover costs, improved customer service and retention and recruitment competitiveness).

Workplace wellness is an investment in the organization’s workforce. The focus is not only on managing risk and disease but on helping employees improve their wellness and stay healthy. Keeping healthy people healthy is a strategic target for investment in wellness , as programs that focus on prevention go upstream and address health risks while they are still modifiable. Only treating people after the disease or injury is unsustainable.

Health and productivity go hand in hand. The business value of good health is well established. And best of all, workplace wellness is cost-neutral . The returns more than offset the costs.

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