Today, we find a noticeable shift in the lifestyle of working population that is quickly falling prey to a long list of unhealthy diet & food habits, further complicated by a sedentary & often erratic work lives. In certain cases, conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases or ovarian disorders (among women) that were once considered major health issues, are termed as common phenomena even by doctors who call it a ‘21st century condition.’
Isha Sharma*, an MBA graduate, was one of the star performers in her organization for over two years. However, her performance saw a decline in the third year. She started reporting nausea, body-ache, and psychological distress. Eventually, she quit after eight months of struggle at work. Was it a work issue? Yes and no. Doctors found the reasons for her health issues rooted in work stress and unhealthy eating habits.
This is not a one-off case but one of the many such Ms.Sharma’s that we hear about among our colleagues and family members. And not only is the career of a star employee disturbed, it is also a huge loss of talent for the organisation they work with.
Why must organisations care for employees’ health?
- Cost Savings: No better reason to start with that this. Companies spend a lot on group health insurance policies; getting people to participate in events like fun employee activities but very little in providing ‘preventive assistance’. Also, costs resulting from lost productivity and absenteeism are avoided.
- Increase in Returns: Benefits from improving the general wellness of a workforce indicates a likely annual return of three to one or more as per a PWC study.
- Potential to increase productivity: Illness takes an enormous toll on employees’ productivity, affecting a company’s competitiveness. What’s more, this puts pressure on the others at work who may need to temporarily take on a bit of load while a colleague is away.
- Attract Talent: Healthcare benefits, work-life blend, a wellness program and perks are increasingly becoming important to companies in India which want to keep employees happy and to attract new talent (as per a PWC study). Indian companies like Wipro and Infosys have developed comprehensive wellness programmes for their employees.
Considering these benefits, what steps can an organisation take to improve employee health?
- Implement a comprehensive Wellness program that focuses on preventive health and lifestyle modification. The strategy must be built around key elements of Leadership, Culture, People and Process.
- On-site health education and screening for certain health conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- On site Health Clinics allows routine care without taking time off work.
- Offer Yoga and Exercise facilities at office or subsidized memberships to local centres
- Provide Healthy Meal options in cafeterias and build communication channels to make people realize the importance of what you are up to.
- Have HR consultants conduct Pulse surveys to understand the employees better
- Offer Incentives like covering health insurance premiums for employees engaging in healthy behavior. Reward people for positive presentism
- Offer Employee Assistance Programs for employees who have financial troubles, excess stress, or show symptoms of depression. Behavioral resources may be required in specific cases.
- Partner or hire Corporate Social Responsibility companies to organize philanthropic or volunteering workshops and activities.
- Approach Employee engagement consultants or industry experts to plan and strategize a wellness program to boost productivity.
As the saying goes, Let us invest in our employees and they will, in turn, invest in their jobs.
After all, Healthy People = Better Business!
To know more about creating a happy and healthy workforce, say hello at [email protected]
Interpersonal, EE, LIFE AT WORK