Employees wellness programs can vary across organisations but they all aim to increase productivity in the workplace and reduce ill health-related absenteeism.

A correctly designed employee wellness program can increase productivity, boost morale and reduce stress. When you have healthy employees your company feels the benefits.

Wellness programs often help employees make smart and healthy choices that can reduce health care costs and diminish absenteeism. The costs of implementing a wellness program are low compared to the benefits.

Definition of wellness

The term “wellness” is often misunderstood. When it comes to wellness programs, it refers to the process towards becoming aware of unhealthy habits and learning what you can do to increase your health. Therefore, it’s not simply “being well” it’s about working towards a better living.

A wellness program takes the values and applies them to a set of principles, incentives and evaluations that are then implemented company-wide to improve the health and morale of the workforce.

An example could be to have healthy snacks at lunch. With a limited time for lunch, many employees may feel that they have to eat fast food when buying their lunch. A lunch and snack program will appeal to all employees since everyone has to eat.

Typical programs will include stress management, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, smoking cessation programs, physical fitness and nutrition.

What are the benefits of employee wellness programs?

  • A decrease in sick and absent days
  • A reduction in the number of work-related injuries
  • A reduction in the number of repetitive strain injuries
  • An increase in employee productivity
  • Increase employee recruitment and retention

Reports also show an increase in well-being, self-image and self-esteem, while at the same time resulting in a decrease in stress.

Employee wellness in the NHS

A recent article by the AHSN Network highlights poor staff health and wellbeing has been estimated to cost the UK economy around £100 billion a year. The annual cost annual cost of absence per employee per year within the public healthcare sector was £1,153 with 1.3 million employees. Reducing NHS staff absence by a third could save the NHS £500 million per year.

The health and wellbeing of NHS staff is important in delivering a high quality of patient care. Workplace incentives have been identified as a priority of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, with a need for the NHS to set a national example.

Various employee wellness programs have been piloted in the NHS over the years. Results were very positive with significant improvements in a range of physiological, mental health and lifestyle variables.

Staff feedback was also very positive 95% reported making positive changes to their lifestyle, including exercise, weight management, healthy eating, quitting smoking and mental wellbeing etc. NHS staff agreed that it would be a valuable workplace benefit.

Learn how Cohort, The Leading Occupational Health Software Solution can deliver efficiencies, cost savings and increase employee well-being within your organisation.