Kavitha Sivasubramaniam: Employee happiness should be employers’ focus

As our Well at Work Week in association with Benenden Health draws to a close, it is time to reflect on some of the trends and issues currently shaping this area of the benefits market.

Most employers know that employee illness and stress can have significant cost implications, not least because they often lead to increases in absenteeism and a reduction in productivity. While many businesses look at reactive measures to address this issue, not all are taking proactive steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Arguably, more employers should focus on the happiness of their people. After all, if employees are content and feel that they have a good work-life balance, this can have a significant effect on their overall health and wellbeing. For this reason, investment in wellness at work can be a win-win situation.

By placing resilience at the centre of their wellbeing strategy, employers can ensure their workforces are well equipped to deal with any problems that arise, whether in the workplace or outside it. Physical and emotional resilience contributes greatly to employee wellbeing, and it is important to explore how this can be built.

One way of boosting wellness and resilience is by assessing leave policies. Forward-thinking organisations are looking beyond traditional parental leave policies, and are introducing time off to accommodate caring responsibilities, bereavement, special occasions and even new pets. These alternative initiatives make employers stand out from the crowd, and can help attract and retain staff by demonstrating a wider understanding of the pressures that affect them at work.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is another area that can have impact on wellness. Savvy employers are recognising that an integrated approach can pay dividends, and are now positioning their CSR initiatives to improve employee motivation and productivity. These employers recognise that getting staff involved in community and charity initiatives can have a positive impact on their wellbeing, as well as boosting the business’ brand.

For all these reasons and more, supporting employee health and wellness is climbing up the agenda for employers.

Whatever stage you are at and however you implement occupational health strategies in your organisation, Well at Work Week was designed to help take this to the next level through exclusive insights and opinions uncovering best practice in this area. These included:

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
Tweet: @kavithasiva_EB