Louise Aston: Do wellbeing perks really work?

One of the ways in which organisations are improving workplace wellbeing is by providing employee benefits that go beyond the traditional offers of health or life insurance.

A reactive approach to employee wellbeing is costly and unsustainable. Faced with the financial impact of ill-health, employers should take a proactive approach to the health and wellbeing of their whole workforce. By placing wellness, rather than sickness, at the centre of this approach, identifiable values for both employees and organisations can be delivered.

Traditionally, organisations have focused on the more tangible aspects of health and wellbeing. Some benefits, such as those that provide psychological and mental health support, can be especially difficult to sell because of stigma. However, since one in four people suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime and stress is on the increase, we need to build a work environment where there is a licence to talk about these things. It is recognised that mental resilience in the workforce will play an essential role in securing competitiveness in the global marketplace, because positive lifestyle choices can result in improved employee performance.

Business in the Community’s Workwell model highlights the need for collaboration. It is the employer’s responsibility to create an environment where employees can make healthy lifestyle choices, but employees must take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. The model provides a strategic, integrated and holistic framework for maximising employee wellness and engagement.

Elevating wellness to a boardroom issue can help organisations to maximise both productivity and profitability.

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Louise Aston is Workwell campaign director at Business in the Community