How Healthy Employees Boost Productivity

Businesses that invest in employee health programs save money by increasing productivity and decreasing absenteeism and health claims among their workers. By putting in place employee health and wellness programs and incentives, employers can reduce the number of annual preventable injuries and illnesses. These health initiatives may be used as entirely preventative measures or as an incentive and reward system for set time periods of accident and negligent–free productivity. Whether preventative or incentive, these tested health programs tend to advance the employer’s rate of production by directly improving worker morale.

employee wellness program

Employer’s Health Initiatives for the Body and Mind

A business can save an average of 25 percent on the costs of workers’ compensation, absenteeism, and insurance and disability claims, according to an extensive 2012 review of employer health programs conducted by the Chapman Institute. The affordable programs that promoted mental and physical fitness among employees in the review were often educational, providing helpful information on the management of stress and weight, or on the health effects of smoking and the value of nutrition. Scheduled breaks for stretching and reviewing safety procedures or checklists throughout the workday were used by many businesses to refresh their employees on company policy, and to prevent hazards due to complacency.

Funds allocated by the business or raised by employee collaboration can be invested in exercise equipment, bicycle racks, showers, healthy snack bars, and gym or spa membership packages. An investment of this kind often boosts morale and gives the employees a sense of community and value. Employees may also be encouraged to take part in charity walks, runs, and other athletic events in an effort to combine the business’s dedication to its employees’ health and its charitable contributions. According to the national health protection agency, CDC, a business that implements an innovative program, based upon the interests of the employees, will find a noticeable decrease in sick and vacation days taken due to an injury or illness.

Employee Health Program Implementation and Retention

Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) has issued a 2013 health and wellness report that shows most employees do not participate in their employer’s health programs because their employer’s do not implement them well enough. GCC states in their report that employers that allow sufficient time in their employees’ schedules for the programs experience much more success retaining the employees that decide to join the programs. 99% of the 378 reported organizations across the world stated that they believed fun was a factor of medium to very high importance in their health programs. The companies that make their employee health programs a part of the workers’ schedules do not suffer from a lack of employee participation due to time constraints.

The incentive programs are particularly effective in boosting employee engagement, morale, and, as a result, productivity. Employee reward systems often include weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, safety and health goals that compensate either the winning individual employee, or winning team. Compensation for those meeting the safety or health challenge for the specified time may be gift cards, vacation packages, or money towards personal exercise equipment. Many companies that reported high employee morale offered athletic competitions among employees, in which the winner would earn a choice from a rewards pool; or they offered recreational facilities for employee use at lunch and breaks, such as basketball and tennis courts.

Gain in Productivity and Loss in Presenteeism

The leading studies have shown that investment into programs that promote healthy employees ultimately benefit the company by reducing risk and expenses, and by increasing employee performance and productivity. The company’s market for retaining current and attracting new employees is also greatly increased by proactive and employee–based health initiatives. Along with its production, the reputation of a business is always improved when the health needs of its employees are cared for.

About the Author: Sarah Daren is a writer who creates informative articles relating to the field of health. In this article, she describes the benefits of healthy employees and aims to encourage further study with a master of science in health law.

Photo credit: Tony Cecala