Has the pandemic driven a change in wellbeing?
The restrictions that the pandemic brought to us all were far-reaching. It was the catalyst for a huge shift in working habits, for the furloughing of millions of workers, and it brought a greater focus onto staff wellbeing and emphasis on how employers balance the needs of employees.
‘Wellness’ may be a term that we only started hearing over the last couple of decades, but its roots are in ancient history and Hippocrates, the ‘father of modern medicine.’ Around 5BCE, he was the first to separate medicine from magical and religious beliefs and to understand the link between environmental and personal cleanliness and disease.
A holistic approach
Today, wellness has evolved as a holistic health concept and is often described as having seven dimensions; physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational. These are intertwined; if any of these areas is lacking, it is likely to have a negative effect on our overall health.
Back to the pandemic, and we can see that practically every single one of those dimensions might have been impacted negatively. Before we’d heard of COVID-19, companies had started to take wellness seriously, with some more forward-thinking employers offering benefits such as access to mental health services, bike to work schemes, discounted gym memberships and on-site cafes, for example.
But as we venture back to our workplaces, employers may find that their staff are viewing support for wellness as more than a nice to have. With many of the seven dimensions being directly impacted by work, there is a growing expectation that employers should take some responsibility in supporting a drive for better health. We’re increasingly seeing that a ‘nice thing to do’ mindset is changing to a ‘right thing to do’ one.
Why wellness at work is important
In the face of statistics around rising obesity, mental health issues and increasing debt, it’s clear that employee wellness can impact massively on work productivity. An estimate from the US Department of Health and Human Services is that chronic disease driven by unhealthy lifestyles is costing businesses more than one trillion dollars in lost productivity alone. And there are many studies that suggest organisations can expect a 3 to 6 fold return on their spend on wellness, a return that starts to crystalise 2-3 years after starting a programme.
As well as increased productivity, organisations introducing such a programme are likely to see:
- a reduction in absence
- fewer claims on health policies
- higher employee engagement
- easier recruitment and retention
A simple way to offer wellness benefits
Once the decision to offer wellness benefits has been made, where can organisations turn for support?
A company such as Remus can make it a very easy process, offering a package of wellness benefits to your employees on your behalf. We take the subject seriously, providing a wide range of tools, available on our platform, that promote various areas of wellbeing.
These include support for personal health, such as an always-available GP helpline with online face to face consultations, free eye tests, online fitness videos, and discounted gym membership.
Relieving the stress of financial worries is also addressed, with access to free credit reports, specialist contractor mortgages, financial planning services, zero commission foreign currency purchase and a health cash plan. Stress and anxiety can be helped with our online mindfulness course.
Full details of all our wellness benefits can be found here.
Do get in touch to have a discussion about the range of services we have available and how we can build you a programme to support the wellness of your employees as they return to work.