Financial wellness programs can give the employees a raise without any dollars lost out of the employers pocket. In fact, with some particular wellness programs, the employer can make money off of the program. In recent years, some employee wellness programs have generated as much $3 in savings for every $1 spent (click here). Sources show that workplace wellness programs and other initiatives may offer a high return on investment (ROI) within a company’s overall healthcare budget (Harvard Business Review). With the information below, your company could can increase the bottom line for both the company and its employees.
Maximize Saving: A Closer Look at Employee Health
Today, workplace wellness is no longer a trend but a rapidly growing industry. By embracing workplace wellness companies view a direct return in employee health, decreased absenteeism, and a higher bottom line.
According to a RAND research brief, nearly 70% of companies currently have general wellness programs, but “the ROI depends on how deep an organization really wants to go down the wellness well.” Evidently, if a company decides to implement a successful program, it must do so fully and whole-heartedly. In other words, to improve the bottom line, firms must adopt a wellness initiative that is multi-faceted, consistent, engaging, and readily available to the employee. It is no longer about spending money to make money. It is about giving your company and your employee a raise.
Workplace Wellness – a One Stop Shopping List
(Below is a list of ways to renovate an office space and invest in employee health and wellness.)
Ten Ways to Transform Your Office Space into a Wellness Place
Stand More and Sit Less ($200 – $1000 per desk)
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adult Americans sit for more than eight hours a day. The negative effects of which include: increased chance of heart disease, obesity, and greater susceptibility to other illnesses. One potential solution? Consider stand-up desks so employees have the opportunity to remain productive while reducing the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Maximize Natural Light ($40 – $100 per light)
While most businesses cannot control what their workspace looks like after it has been constructed, there are ways to ensure that visible light is available to the team. Light therapy can affect the brain in multiple ways – the most notable is its impact on melatonin levels, mood, and energy, especially during seasonal changes.
De-Stress the Workplace with Fidget Toys ($5 – $20 per toy)
Whether employees care to admit it or not, sometimes they need to take their hands off the computer and take a few moments to think. Small desktop toys, like fidget spinners, are a great investment because they allow workers to momentarily take their attention off of the project so they can get their creativity flowing!
Whether employees want to admit it or not, sometimes they need to remove their hands from the computer and take a few moments to think. Small desktop toys, like fidget spinners, are a fun, practical, and cost-effective investment because they allow workers to momentarily take their attention off of the project so they can get their creativity flowing!
Install a water cooler or filtration system ($500 – $1000+)
Healthy habits start with what employees put into their body. While coffee grants energy – nothing benefits the body better than water.
Focus on Building Healthy and Engaging Relationships (free)
Relationships improve mental health, motivate attendance, and create a friendly competitive environment where employees can push each other to excel. Try orchestrating activities once a month for employees to get together and develop deeper relationships.
Get Ergonomic Chairs that Improve Posture ($150 – $300)
As if sitting all day weren’t bad enough, posture also plays a large role in overall health and workplace performance. For more details on how improper posture affects the body, click here.
Similarly, keep in mind that sitting, no matter one’s posture is not beneficial for one’s health. To maximize your ability to improve the bottom line encourage employees to stand and work. If standing is not preferable however, simply gettting up and waling around every so often could also help.
Create a Place to Enjoy Meals (Costs Vary Based on Design)
Distracted eating leads to overeating. Taking meals away from the office (or at least off the desk) ensures employees are using food as fuel rather than a distraction. Having a place to escape and take a break also reduces monotony and gives employees a greater sense of comfort when they return to their work.
Add a Plant ($15 per plant)
Whether it is a small plant on each employee’s desk or a larger one in a shared office space, plants can improve air quality and induce a feeling of calmness. For more data on how plants improve air quality, click here.
Clean Out the Cupboards ($ calculated based on # of employees)
Offices that supply food for its employees can encourage better eating habits by making healthy snacks and foods accessible.
Today, 72% of adults age 20 and over are either overweight or obese. Obesity, aside from affecting physical and mental health, can be linked to conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. A 50-year-old male, who is 50 lbs. overweight will, on average, live a year less than their healthy-counterpart and spend around $400 more for healthcare in pre-retirement.
By improving the quality of food offered in the office, employees are more likely to develop healthier habits at home. The resulting weightless and attention to healthy habits will help that employee save an additional $400 in costs and save the company $1200, which will ultimately cover more than the budget for food offerings.
Adopt a Cohesive Wellness Program ($ Costs Vary)
A stimulating and practical wellness program creates happier, healthier employees who spend less on healthcare costs and take fewer sick days. Some wellness programs can even help employees improve their finances. As an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plan report points out, estimates for ROI on wellness programs could be as high as $3 for every $1 spent.
Wellness: The Big Picture
Since employers generally save three times what employees do, transforming office environments to increase wellness will pay dividends. While spending $500 on a standing desk or $45 per employee per year on a wellness program may seem like an expensive initiative, take this example into account:
For a 50-year old woman with type 2 diabetes, exercising daily, sitting less and improving her diet could add 4 years to her lifespan and save her an average of $2,790 annually. Furthermore, her employer stands to see 3 times that by a general rule of thumb. This means that they stand to save more than $8,000 annually for that one employee. All of a sudden, the expenses above don’t seem so extreme.
Modest improvements to work environments that encourage walking will improve health, reduce stress, and increase performance. Even something as simple as replacing a standard desk for a standing one could give workers more incentive to stand and walk more on their own. Though these investments sound expensive, the ROI of these purchases could raise the bottom line in a year or less. Ultimately, any investment towards happier, healthier employees can make a team feel cared for, rewarded, and accepted. After all, when it comes to wellness in the workplace – it is always more beneficial to work smarter, not harder.