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Employee Wellness and Productivity: What You Need to Know


Did you know that the average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day of work? If you’re paying your workers for an eight-hour day, the actual amount of time the average worker spends fully engaged on the work at hand is less than half their workday. There are many reasons why your team’s productivity levels may decrease at any given time. However, high levels of stress is one of the main culprits. One recent study found that: “stress negatively impacts how we perform and function both in the workplace and in our daily lives. As a recent survey conducted by Colonial Life shows, 41 percent of workers say stress has caused a drop in work productivity.”

Employee wellness programs are one of the best ways to help employees deal with stress, both within and outside the workplace setting. Developing a holistic and comprehensive focus on employee wellness can thus help business owners and managers take steps towards a positive workplace culture and happy, fulfilled employees. Of course, employee wellness and productivity are also closely linked, and these types of programs can help companies increase their bottom line. Below, we offer a few ideas for how companies can implement employee wellness programs to help increase overall productivity levels.

Employee Wellbeing and Productivity: A Look At The Science

A 2015 worker survey finds that “more than 90 percent of business leaders say that promoting wellness can affect employee productivity and performance.” This really shouldn’t come as a surprise as any human resource manager can tell you that happy and healthy workers are much more likely to stay productive and engaged while at work. Specifically, a determined focus on employee wellness can play a major role in helping to meet the needs of your employees. By providing adequate resources for your workers' well being via a wellness program, you can expect to see higher engagement levels, better team and personal morale, an improved company culture, and better employee retention levels. Wellness programs can also help to reduce “presenteeism” in the workplace. This common workplace problem occurs when workers are physically present on the job but routinely mentally distracted. Of course, helping your employees boost their overall health can also improve mental health indicators, thus improving focus, motivation, and the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.

Employee Wellness Programs and Productivity: A Few Ideas

Workplace wellness is defined as any workplace health promotion activity or organizational policy that is intended to deliberately support healthy behavior in the workplace and to improve health outcomes of your workforce. Employee wellness programs are routinely referred to as corporate wellbeing and can include a variety of activities including health education, medical screenings for employees, weight management programs, on-site fitness programs or facilities, better nutrition at the workplace, mindfulness programs and more. The type of employee wellness program that you implement will of course depend on the industry you are in and the particular health issues that your employees face. However, to help you think creatively and “outside the box,” here are a few ideas for how you can implement an innovative employee wellness program:

  • Alternative Transit/Commute Options If you have several workers who live in relatively close proximity to your workplace, you may consider a bike sharing program. This will help workers get their daily dose of exercise and arrive mentally and physically stimulated to work.

  • Yoga and Massage Services As we mentioned in the introduction, stress is one of the main causes of reductions in workplace productivity. Organizing yoga classes or massage therapies for your workers is a great way to help alleviate stress and thus improve productivity levels.

  • Nap rooms Sleeping while at work might not seem like a great way to boost productivity. However, companies like Facebook actually have dedicated “nap rooms” where employees can go to get a quick power nap. This can actually help to boost energy levels and help workers better focus on the task at hand, (with the added bonus of creating a healthy workplace culture that says “when you’re tired, you need sleep - not coffee.”)

  • Hire an Ergonomic and wellbeing Consultant Lastly, you might also consider hiring a third party contractor to help your business develop a holistic wellness program and review your workplaces ergonomics for your workforce.

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