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Prioritising Worker Wellness

Good employers take care of their people. They believe that they have a responsibility to those that work for them. They recognise that this responsibility does not end as the working day finishes.

And of course, there are clear business benefits to ensuring the workforce is as healthy and happy as possible. Studies have shown that happy healthy workers are 12% more productive. In recent years, more attention has been paid to people’s mental health. Leaders recognise that, wherever possible, team members need a working pattern that suits their shifting circumstances.

But the changes in the way we work are also raising big questions about how employers support worker wellness. How can managers understand the needs of employees that they rarely come face to face with? How can benefits previously dependent on the office be delivered to people who are increasingly working from home?

This guide:

  • Explores the benefits and challenges of creating the right wellness programme
  • Outlines the principles to crafting a wellness offer fit for the future of work
  • Shows how Zest can help employers quickly implement a first-class programme

The right wellness programme: Benefits and challenges

The right wellness programme can deliver for the workforce and for the business. It can reduce absenteeism by as much as 25%. It can increase engagement and boost productivity. Studies have linked wellness programmes to lower staff turnover, an increase in customer satisfaction and a rise in profits.

However, the shift to hybrid working presents a number of challenges to delivering worker wellness:

  1. Employees require more support than ever
    Economic disruption and uncertainty mean that team members may face financial difficulties and the stress and worry that accompany such challenges. Especially if their partner or family member has lost their job. Even before the pandemic, employers were losing 2.5 days per employee, per year due to financial stress-related absence.
  2. Greater awareness of mental health issues
    Some 46% of professionals report that they have considered quitting their job because it impacted their mental health. Employers recognise that mental health challenges are among the toughest that workers face. But that doesn’t make supporting them any easier.
  3. Employees expect more from their employers
    Workers have raised their expectations of the organisation they work for. Some 78% said they would be more likely to work for a company that supported their mental health.
  4. Wellness is harder to deliver
    Many core components of a wellness strategy used to be centred around the office. Everything from discounted canteens to on-site yoga classes were ways for employers to show their people that they understood their needs and wanted to help. But people are coming to the office less, or not at all. So these once-valuable offers have diminished impact.

Building great wellness programmes

A world-class wellness programme must be truly holistic. It should address every aspect of an employee’s working life. Do team members have access to sufficient natural light? Is their home office fit for purpose? Is an individual’s working pattern optimised to suit their circumstances?

A benefit programme is a powerful means of building and enhancing a wellness strategy. But to be effective a programme must be:

  1. Personalised
    One size cannot fit all. A worker struggling to manage the pressures of family life will need radically different support to a colleague dealing with loneliness. The benefit offer must include sufficient variety, with the right information easily made available to the right people.
  2. Accessible to all
    Whether based remotely or at headquarters, all workers need equal access to the right benefits.
  3. Holistic
    Health insurance will always remain important for many employees. But it is no longer enough simply to help out employees when they are ill. A whole range of benefits should support ongoing wellness. These can range from gym memberships to mental health days.
  4. Constantly evolving to meet the real issues
    The pandemic showed how quickly people’s needs can change. To be meaningful, a wellness programme must quickly be able to adapt to new realities.

Conclusion: a wellness programme fit for the future

Good employers take their responsibilities to their workers’ welfare seriously. Changing working practices and competition for talent has raised expectations while creating new challenges for employers and employees alike. At the same time, new ways of working are making an effective wellness strategy more difficult to deliver.

Despite the challenges, this is something that employers must get right. The best staff expect the organisation they work for to care about their well-being across the whole of their life. If necessary, they will change jobs to find an employer that does.

Zest equips employers with the technology to deliver the right wellness programme for their workforce. Benefits can be easily updated to adapt to evolving needs. The wellness offer can be personalised to suit the circumstances of each employee. As a result, employers can build trust with their workers, increase engagement and ensure they retain the staff they need to help them deal with the challenges.

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