The Increasing Popularity of Corporate Wellness Programs and What HR Can Do

Stress Affects All Leading to Reduced Productivity and Loss of Person Hours

It is commonplace these days for professionals and workers alike to complain about excessive stress due to their work and due to myriad other personal and professional commitments. Indeed, stress is something that all of us experience on a daily basis.

Whether it is the pressure of upcoming deadlines, poor ratings leading to anxiety, the distractions of the Smartphone fueled pings and other disturbances that lead to an inability to focus on work, or the anxiety of balancing personal and professional lives.

Indeed, if anyone says that they are leading stress free lives, then he or she must be extraordinarily lucky.

Thus, with stress becoming commonplace, professionals experience its effects in the form of reduced productivity, frequent health problems, and regularly falling sick and missing work.

The last point is especially relevant as organizations would ideally need their employees to be hale and hearty to focus on work and give their best.

However, as many recent studies and research papers have pointed out, it is becoming commonplace for employees to take more sick leaves and be absent from work leading to them and the organizations alike losing out on person hours of work.

This is the reason why many HR Managers worldwide are taking note of the increasing incidence of ill health taking a toll on personal and organizational health.

Corporate Wellness Programs and Their Role in Actualizing a Productive Workplace

As a solution or at least a way to mitigate these problems, many corporates world over are investing in corporate wellness programs wherein they send their employees to resorts, nature cure centers, rehabilitation or rehab centers, and on offsite visits so that they can rejuvenate and revitalize themselves from time to time.

More importantly, HR Managers are also looking at how to spot triggers that employees are feeling and are experiencing as a prelude to a complete breakdown of their health.

Indeed, the latter aspect is the key to successful management of wellness and health at the workplace since spotting the signs of stress and burnout early can save the organizations and the employees a whole lot of trouble.

In addition, many HR managers are also hiring wellness consultants and psychotherapists to talk to employees in a confidential manner and check if they are fit to work dedicatedly.

Indeed, corporate wellness has become an industry on its own with multiple stakeholders including the leading hospitals, the wellness experts, chains of resort and rehab centers, and the logistics providers such as emergency services and specialists who are trained to deal with workplace illnesses.

Corporate Wellness World Over

Apart from this, governments around the world have realized the debilitating effect of ill health and sickness on employee and organizational productivity and are taking steps to address the same.

For instance, the United Kingdom has passed a law requiring employers to hire a psychiatrist or psychologist to talk to employees on a one on one basis as well as giving time off without deducting salary to employees who badly need a break from work.

As such, the French have always had liberal working hours and no weekend working and they are now probing whether they can relax these rules to help employees.

In India, there have been multiple proposals recently to have a Five Day Work Week for Governmental Employees and thereby ensuring that they do not become stressed at work.

The reason for all this attention as well as the increasing popularity of Corporate Wellness Programs is that all of us and those in the high pressure jobs have been reporting increased and sometimes fatal levels of stress and pressure and hence, it is no longer a luxury for corporates to have wellness programs, but is a necessity.

Corporate Wellness Leads to Monetary and Nonmonetary Benefits

In other words, employee health and wellbeing is as important as their contributions and the importance of such programs increases as we go up the organizational hierarchy.

Indeed, while employee wellness programs are designed for all levels, we have found that at the senior levels, it is a company policy for middle and senior managers to undergo periodic health checkups.

In addition, it has become the norm for all corporates to have incoming employees undergo pre employment check so that any potential health issues can be detected and thereby, the fitness of such candidates can be ascertained in advance.

Moreover, the fact that employees who fall ill at work or because of work often claim insurance benefits from the corporates makes the case for a corporate wellness programs that much more important.

Apart from lost person hours, and the compensation claimed, a sick workplace tends to drag the overall employee morale down as well as increase the chances of other employees burning out.

This is the reason why many HR Managers now employ wellness consultants on a regular basis to preempt and prevent possible employee outages.

Lastly, well designed corporate wellness programs can help alleviate the health problems of employees and by helping them to find their balance and by pointing the way to good health, such programs do help all stakeholders in monetary and nonmonetary terms.

While organizations benefit from reduced loss of person hours, the employees find themselves motivated to give their best at the workplace for an employer who cares about them.

From a purely humanitarian point of view, it is also contingent on corporates to “stand with” the employees in distress.

To conclude, corporate wellness programs are here to stay and hence, it is better for HR Managers to include them as part of their responsibilities.

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Human Resource Management