Five hard reasons to prioritise wellbeing at work  

25.03.19 Learn Blog SumoSalad
Wellbeing at work

Workplace Wellbeing expert and SumoSalad’s Chief Customer Officer Lawrence Mitchell explains why investing in workplace wellbeing makes emotional and economic sense.

Once upon a time, workplace wellbeing was seen as a soft topic, not worthy of executive time. It was merely an after thought, if that. Today, serious research evidence exists that supports the logical hypothesis that a healthy and happy workforce equals an innovative, productive and successful business.

Why should I care about wellbeing in the workplace?

We spend a third of our lives at work, which is a serious chunk of time. However, we have, well, work to do. Unfortunately, workplaces are generally more about fostering ill being than wellbeing. Research suggests that:

– 87% of employees are not actively engaged with their work
– Stress is costing Australian businesses $3.9bn
– 1 in 4 Australians are suffering with mental health issues due to work
– Chronic conditions have become the norm

These are some pretty spectacular stats that highlight a big opportunity to impact energy, engagement and productivity in Aussie businesses.

The good news is, workplaces are very effective channels to reach people, to help them upgrade their lifestyle habits and personal wellbeing, so it has a positive ripple effect on their businesses, their families and their lives.

The 5 gifts of investing in wellbeing at work

This is why you should make wellbeing a priority.

A healthier and more resilient workforce

Workplaces are microcosms of the broader society – one in three of us will suffer from a chronic condition, which is an alarming number and expensive for businesses. Whilst employers take responsibility for the health and safety of their employees in general, it’s more unusual for an employer to feel responsible for helping their employees avoid chronic conditions that will impact physical, mental, emotional and financial wellbeing.

When people are off sick, that costs a lot in terms of lost productivity, not to mention the impact on other employees. Logic tells us that a healthier team is going to be more productive than an unhealthy one.

A more engaged workforce

Engagement isn’t just a fluffy term – it’s critical to your business’ success. Research shows that a more engaged workforce:

– Are 21% more productive
– Are 87% less likely to leave
– Achieve 12% higher customer advocacy scores and 18% higher customer retention scores

Having engaged employees is clearly a non-negotiable. FYI: engagement can be measured with different tools including ENPS, Employee Satisfaction, as well as many new tools in the market.

Higher retention

Behind every great brand are great people. Products don’t make themselves and tech doesn’t build itself – yet. Research shows that replacing an employee costs 150% of their annual salary. Great places to work have a 65% lower employee turnover, so, it’s in our best interest to create a place to work that attracts the talent we need to be successful.  

A more profitable business

Overall if you invest in wellbeing, the payback is significant. Look at the case studies: Unilever in the UK reported that every £1 spent on wellbeing resulted in £10 return in lower absenteeism and increased productivity. Likewise, Johnson & Johnson found that every dollar spent returned $4. Royal Mail’s ‘Feeling First Class’ programme reduced absence by 100k days, creating £12.2m of savings.

Shared human stories

Behind these numbers are real people whose lives are transformed and it’s the human stories that drive me. I’ll share with you one story. In September 2014, I was launching a workplace wellbeing program. I ran an event on nutrition and I remember sharing my green smoothie recipe. When I finished speaking, a woman at the back put up her hand and said in a soft voice: ‘I’m fifty years old, and with all due respect, I have no time to make that – can you help?’

Over the next 12 months, I helped her bring awareness to her habits and upgrade them gradually in a way that suited her. The impact on her weight, energy and vitality was extraordinary and, as healthy habits tend to stick together, it had a ripple effect on her whole life. I heard from her a couple of months ago and she told me that she had trained to cycle from London to Paris. Everyone is at a different starting point of their wellbeing journey, the key is to get started.

How to get those gifts

First, you’ll need to take a look at yourself and assess where you are at in your personal wellbeing journey. Prioritising your own wellbeing is the most important thing you can do. If you’re unwell, you’ll be unable to help others.

Also take a look at where your organisation is at in their journey, too. Figure out what you can do to help them take the next step. You will need to balance the needs of both the employees and business.

Lay some solid foundations for a healthier workplace. I believe the best place to start is with food. It’s an integral part of our everyday life and is also an area where so much confusion exists. By providing healthier choices, you can both simplify wellbeing and also directly impact your employees’ health.

Here’s a simple action: give employees access to healthy food without making a big song and dance about it being “healthy”. People will eat and drink what’s close to them so if you give them cakes, chips and sugary drinks, they will consume those things. A simple swap would be trading sweets for fruit. Research suggests that eating more fruit and less sugar will increase general wellbeing by 10% and positivity by 13%.

This is an easy change to implement that has a potentially extraordinary outcome in the long run. It’s swaps like these that workplace wellbeing should be about: not drastic changes overnight, but a series of small tweaks which can lead to dramatic transformation.

Clearly, investing in workplace wellbeing makes emotional and economic sense – you have the opportunity to directly improve employee engagement and productivity with very simple and successful changes every day.

Special offer!

To celebrate workplace wellbeing, we’re offering 10% off SumoSalad for you and your employees if you order online. Simply click here and enter the discount code: waw01

About Lawrence

Lawrence Mitchell is Chief Customer Officer of SumoSalad, Former CMO at RELX: Risk & Analytics and Founder of RAW Energy. Lawrence is a huge advocate for promoting wellbeing in the workplace and is the creator of the award-winning RBI Living Well programme. Through his RAW Energy platform and vetted delivery partners, he now consults and supports business and community leaders to be more resilient, more authentic and more focused on wellbeing.  Lawrence is a regular writer and contributor to marketing, customer experience and wellness forums and is the author of three books including: Success without Stress: How to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilience for Optimal Health & Performance. http://www.lawrencemitchell.co/

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

POSTED BY: Anthea England

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