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How employee wellness affects your business

Article provided by Simply

Healthy, happy and engaged employees are critical to the success of any business.

With a potential fourth COVID-19 wave looming, coupled with the slow vaccination rate and increased workplace stress, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to teach South African businesses new ways of performing, strategizing and restructuring.

Consequently, company culture has drastically transformed. Many businesses are witnessing a massive increase in mental health issues amongst employees, leading to a decline in motivation, productivity and the slowing down of business growth and development. It is understood that the combination of improved physical and psychological health leads to improved employee well-being and thus improved productivity.

Ian Fuhr, founder and CEO of the Sorbet Group, put it perfectly when he said: “If you do not treat people with the respect they deserve, do not expect any commitment to your productivity goals and targets.”

When you think of improving your bottom line, employee wellness is probably not at the top of your list. Studies show, though, that investing in employee wellness typically delivers great returns. Across the globe, we’ve seen employers increase investment in the well-being of their staff, implementing programs that help them destress and encouraging work-life balance. South African business owners, however, have been behind the curve and are only now waking up to the fact that employee wellness is both affordable and great for business.  

“Healthy and happy employees are so important to the success of any organization. They work harder, are less likely to resign and are less likely to miss work because of illness. All of which grows and protects your company’s bottom line,” says deputy CEO of Simply Financial Services, Simon Nicholson.

If you’re not convinced, here are a few simple business reasons to invest in the wellbeing of your employees:

1. Improved productivity

Poor health, whether it be mental or physical health, leads to low productivity in the workplace. While your staff may be physically present, they may not be working productively. This has been coined ”presenteeism” – employees being physically present, but mentally and emotionally elsewhere. Investing in your staff’s mental and physical wellness leads to more engaged employees, who feel more valued and committed to the business, and who are consequently more productive.

2. Improved employee retention

The “perks of a job” are undoubtedly a drawcard for the new generation of workers choosing their career paths and the organisations they work for. HealthMiles, a workplace health engagement company and part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, surveyed about 1,300 businesses and 10,000 employees for its annual survey and found that 87% of those interviewed “consider” employee wellness programs a significant factor when choosing a job. Those who work for you want to know that they are more to the business than just a number on the payroll; they want to see that you care about their health and wellness.

3. Increased morale

Better health leads to healthier mental and physical attitudes about work, and a better overall lifestyle, which can lead to better overall workplace morale and increased workplace productivity.

4. Decreased absenteeism

We all know that time costs a business money, and time that is not worked is money lost. Fewer health issues mean decreased absenteeism and fewer sick days. Perhaps you have an employee who struggles with mental health? If they are granted access to proper therapy through a wellness programme provided by your company, they are less likely to need time off work due to an improved overall mental state.

5. Reduced healthcare costs

With proper wellness programs in place, employees will enjoy better overall health, which leads to lower healthcare costs both for employees and employers. 

Anthony Miller, CEO and co-founder of Simply Financial Services, pulls it all together very simply: “Happy employees are more productive and deliver better business results. Despite this, very few business owners invest in employee wellness. Perhaps they think the cost is an issue, or the administration of such programmes outweigh the overall benefit, when “cost is not the issue”.”

“Often, a few pragmatic changes to working arrangements can make a big difference to general levels of stress. And employee assistance programmes, which give employees 24/7 access to expert psychological and financial counselling, are readily available and cost way less than 1% of payroll,” he adds.

There has never been a more critical time than now for employers to provide their employees with structured wellness programmes. The last three years have taken a physical, mental and emotional toll on everyone, and now more than ever, we need to prove to those around us that we care about their health, whether it be financial, mental or physical. Through this act of care, your business will reap the rewards. It is more than just a great business decision; it proves that you are invested in those who work for you.

Simply is a proud Partner of the NSBC