A survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that half of employers offering wellness programs saw a decrease in absenteeism, 66% reported increased productivity, and 67% said employees are more satisfied. Is that enough data to make you a believer? In case not, here’s the nitty-gritty behind what those numbers really mean.
On a yearly basis, absenteeism costs nearly $4,000 per hourly worker and $3,000 per salaried employee. Not surprisingly, research found the two biggest causes of short-term absence to be minor illness and stress, common issues that physical activity helps reduce. It makes sense then that organizations invested in their employees’ wellness would see lower absentees.
As for productivity, it’s not hard to imagine why happier, healthier employees get more done. A survey by the Employee Benefit News magazine found that 31% of respondents rated mental illness as the number one reason for loss of productivity. These mental illnesses could be stress, depression, insomnia, or a variety of other symptoms that health and wellness programs seek to address. Employee participation in wellness programs has even proved to return up to an average 10.3 hours in additional productivity annually.
According to one study by the University of Louisville, every dollar invested in a wellness program generated $7 in health care savings. With health care costs on the rise, investing in corporate wellness programs appears to be a no brainer. Although comprehensive wellness programs should be the end goal, investing in employee wellbeing doesn’t have to be an unreasonable expense. Take LinkedIn’s initiatives, for example.
“We make healthy choices, like water and fruit, easily accessible in attractive displays in plain view. We then put the non-healthy options like sugary beverages and snacks in harder-to-reach areas such as cabinets, or higher shelves,” said Michael Susi, Senior Manager of Global Wellness at LinkedIn. “Exercise is great, but sometimes – from a time perspective – it’s just not feasible. Therefore, we try to give employees the opportunity to move, be it via standing desks that employees can raise and lower on their own, walking meetings, or strategically-placed printers to encourage a few extra steps.”
The tech giant also has private gyms, massages, and multi-purpose rooms for yoga and dance, but when you’re raking in nearly $1 billion in quarterly revenue you can add on those nifty perks.
Several U.S. states even implemented tax credits to incentivize small businesses to provide employee wellness programs. After all the facts, it’s hard to argue against the value wellness programs provide. The more employers invest in employees, the more they get back in return. It’s that plain and simple.