Why employee wellbeing is the key to productivity

A World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that European organisations lose over 140 billion dollars a year in productivity due to common mental disorders. However, employers often fail to see the link between employee wellbeing and productivity. The reality is that when an employee is physically and mentally fit, they are more likely to feel engaged and driven in the workplace.  Luke Bullen, CEO UK/IE at Gympass, shares expert insights on how to make the case for connecting wellbeing with higher output.

Significant evidence exists supporting the link between wellbeing at work and productivity.

For example, a study we conducted highlighted that 10 of the top 20 most sought-after employee benefits relate to work-life balance and a healthier lifestyle. Our Corporate Wellness Barometer study also showed 65% percent of employees felt they would engage in physical activity more often if their employer offered physical activity schemes. Despite this, we are currently seeing a strong disconnect between what employees want and what they are being offered, with just 14% of individuals granted access to gyms, studios and other sports facilities through their employer.

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Companies therefore are in a unique position to radically impact employee wellbeing by offering physical activity options. Working closely with their colleagues, employers can have the benefits of credibility and reach to their staff, beyond that of any other organisation, government or NGO.

Connecting with staff and driving interest in physical activity

80% of individuals are currently inactive. Connecting with this demographic, and encouraging them to change their fitness habits, requires more than simply providing a membership to a fitness facility. Instead, companies need to address the reasons behind lack of engagement and look to promote the benefits of being active, focusing on the improvements it can have on an individual’s wellbeing. This can be achieved through talks, breakfasts, workshops and general discussions in and amongst the office environment.  Here at Gympass we run these, working with corporate businesses to ensure staff are well versed on the topic.

Turning talk into action

Time is a well-used excuse for lack of physical activity. Companies should acknowledge this and show their employees that their personal schedules and busy lifestyles are accounted for when promoting opportunities for exercise. Businesses must consider whether their employees travel a lot, acknowledge their working hours, pay attention to living arrangements and account for salary fluctuations. These factors then need to translate into an offering which satisfies all of these variations. Employees must have the chance to experience a range of activities, at differing price levels, available at multiple locations and times throughout the day.

Learning by example

The best and most successful examples of employee wellness plans are demonstrated by companies who put physical activity at the core of their business model. Take the Santander Group, which has a partnership with Gympass for all its 200,000 employees worldwide. This partnership gives everyone working for the bank access to more than 800 activities across 36,000 sports facilities, in 6,000 cities across 14 countries. It’s hard to find an individual preference or possible constraint that isn’t accounted for with an offering like this.

What does this mean going forward?

A company which puts the wellness of its staff at the heart of its business will see improved productivity, output and loyalty within the workforce.  Our recent whitepaper ‘Maximising Your Return on Engagement’ bears this out, showing that a sense of wellbeing produced 31% higher productivity in employees and 59% greater loyalty. Also cited in our White Paper was Deloitte’s Rise of the Social Enterprise article which showed 60% of employers reported employee wellbeing programme initiatives positively impact employee retention while 61% believe they improve employee engagement and overall productivity. 

Thus it follows that providing staff with opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing should be at the top of a business’ agenda. They must offer a range of activities, at times and locations that appeal to everyone’s preferences. Finally, in order to maximise these effects, companies must truly connect with their employees to fully understand what will engage them.