A recent study by Cascade  revealed only 13% of leaders believe their organisation has an effective well-being strategy, while over two-thirds state it’s a work in progress.
The same report shows that 84% of leaders believe that stress has a detrimental impact on absence. The cost of absenteeism isn’t just a financial cost due to loss of productivity. The damage can seep greater into the business, and lower morale as peers can become resentful and feel burdened by the extra workload, in turn, increasing their stress levels.
With some large organisation providing access to on-site gyms and yoga classes, small businesses or those with restricted space may discount wellness strategies and believe it would take more money to implement them than it would save. Moreover, do they actually work?
A recent case study by EDF, detailed in the Deloitte UK- Workplace Mental Health and Well-being Report , described how, through a range of wellness programmes such as employee support programmes, cognitive behavioural therapy and management training, EDF moved from losing £1.4m in productivity each year to saving an estimated £288K per year. Their employee satisfaction grew from 36% to 68%. Proof that wellness programmes do work.
The tide is changing with attitudes towards well-being and mental health in the workplace as greater public awareness, political attention and more emphasis placed on employer responsibility. Moreover, it doesn’t have to be building an extension with a gym. There are endless ideas for wellness schemes that are inexpensive and quite straight forward to implement. QVC have done a great job by providing an on-site allotment where employees can grow their vegetables and enjoy the mental and physical benefits of gardening.
Other wellness ideas include providing fresh fruit, walking meetings, a daily mile, meditation training, and volunteering days. A flexible working environment can also not be underestimated, as is the opportunity to work some days from home, helping to boost productivity and morale.
The benefits of workplace wellness initiatives can be acute, and they don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Start small and build upon those steps. Tailor these to your staff and ensure they are preventative, not reactive. Not only will your company’s productivity increase, but your employees will feel happier and healthier