Why Corporates Must Focus on Employee Health to Boost Productivity and Profitability
Why Employee Health and Wellbeing is a Major Concern for Corporates
Employee health is a must focus area for any corporate and more so, if the work is highly stressful or if the stakes in terms of revenues and person dependence are even higher. Indeed, no organization can afford to have their employees fall sick regularly as that leads to absenteeism and consequently, loss of days on the job that translates into declining profitability.
Further, employees who drag themselves to work pose another risk in the sense that they are so drained that they might be unproductive when compared to their healthier coworkers thereby contributing to declining profitability.
Moreover, if a senior manager or an executive falls sick or is stressed to the extent that he or she cannot focus on work, the resultant hit to the company might be simply unquantifiable since the organization is so dependent on him or her that prolonged absence as well as intermittent attendance in addition to loss of focus might result in lack of strategic direction to the company.
Apart from this, studies have shown that employers lose Billions of Dollars of revenue due to employee ill-health and hence, this is reason enough for them to take the issue of employee health and wellbeing seriously.
A Healthier Workplace is Infectious and Boosts All Round Productivity
While the discussion so far might seem that employee healthcare is only important to the corporates in so far as monetary and economic aspects are concerned, it is also the case that a healthy workplace is infectious (in the same manner in which viral ill health is also the same), and hence, any organization that aims for a productive and profitable work environment would indeed take the issue of employee healthcare very seriously.
This is the reason why reputed multinationals such as Citigroup, Fidelity, and Unilever (among others) insist on pre-employment health checks so that incoming employees are medically fit enough to meet the demands of the job.
Further, in our experience in the corporate sector, we have also found that they do have periodic health checkups for those employees at the managerial level and above so that there is a regular medical attention that is being paid to these critical resources.
As we move up the hierarchy, the constant demands of the job mean that executives and leadership personnel are often asked to undergo consultations and more advanced medical tests lest there are some lingering and undetected diseases lurking inside them.
Some Measures Adopted by Corporates
Turning to the rank and file employees, almost all corporates nowadays have screening before on-boarding and elaborate medical procedures to determine whether they are fit for the job.
In addition, given the fact that some corporates have pretty generous health insurance schemes as a perk for all employees, there is the added dimension of requiring the insurers nod before on boarding the employees.
In other words, the fact that employee health has and continues to be a very important focus area for corporates cannot be overemphasized.
This is the reason why some corporates also offer paid vacations and visits by medical experts to their campuses to check whether the employees are healthy not only from a general perspective but also to ensure that they are not stressed out.
With regular visits from wellness consultants and tie-ups with prominent hospitals for physical and mental wellbeing, there are many ways in which contemporary corporates are sharpening as well as broadening their focus on employee wellbeing.
Stress is the Elephant in the Room
Talking about stress, it is the case that it is the topic that is the Elephant in the Room that nobody would like to admit upfront but which nonetheless bothers them. Considering the fact that modern workplaces are anything but stress free, this is something that must be given more prominence and importance than is being addressed at the moment.
While manager and executives might not admit it openly that stress in the workplace is contributing to employee ill health, studies done in the United States and Europe, especially the UK, show that stress is a leading contributor to employee ill health and the resultant loss in productivity and profitability.
The point here is that unless we as a society and as stakeholders in national wellbeing bring the discussion of how stressful our lives into the mainstream conversation and at the same time, corporates step up their efforts to de-stress the workplace, there is unlikely to be any respite from the present situation where an estimated 20% of the total time spent by the average employee at the workplace is lost due to ill health.
Indeed, this has led to governments in most of the developed Western world to regulate the time and the quality of the time spent by the employee at the workplace so that already strained employees do not burnout altogether.
This means that it is time for Asian governments to take the issue of employee wellbeing seriously and put in place measures to address the same.
This can take the form of tax breaks for employer provided health insurance as well as monitoring the time spent by the employees at the workplace.
While we have come a long way from the time of the Industrial Revolution where constant pressure of the new technologies made workers burnout faster than before, the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution of Digital Technologies means that we have merely substituted manual labor with mental labor and the underlying factors that contribute to employee wellbeing remain the same.
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