The Benefits of Workplace Wellbeing

Originally featured as a guest post on iamYiam‘s health blog.

Work – it can be a passion or a pain in the neck – literally – but more and more companies are catching on to the workplace wellness trend, also known as workplace wellbeing, and are realizing reproducible health benefits for employees that come with lucrative financial savings.

Workplace wellbeing is understood to be any activity or policy designed to promote health among employees of an organization. It can consist of a wide range of activities or offers, such as complimentary health screenings, massage, sports classes or an ergonomic workplace design. Beyond these types of measures and incentives, the notion of workplace wellness has developed to encompass a culture of health and wellbeing within the organization.

Early adopters of the corporate wellness model began experimenting with workplace wellbeing initiatives as far back as the 1960’s – but for decades, the benefits of such early programs were not easily measured or understood. In the data-rich world of the 21st century, however, this is no longer the case.

One such pioneer in the field of workplace wellbeing is Johnson & Johnson, whose leaders estimate that it’s wellness initiatives have saved the company $250 million in health care costs in the last decade alone; with a return of $2.71 for every dollar invested in the program.

Another study suggests that for every dollar invested in workplace wellness initiatives, a savings of $3.27 on medical costs and an additional $2.73 in savings on absenteeism costs can be realized.

The World Health Organization, a proponent of workplace health promotion, describes a wide array of benefits to the employer. Beyond cost savings, increased productivity, reduced turnover, improved staff morale and a better brand image can also be realized. On average, staff productivity has been shown to increase by 13% among businesses that introduce wellbeing strategies.

Employees who take part in workplace wellbeing programs can enjoy improved health, wellbeing, self-esteem, morale and job satisfaction, as well as a safe and healthy working environment. Moreover, they will be less prone to the hazardous effects of stress which can pose serious health threats.

Large corporations, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, plus public and nonprofit institutions, can benefit equally from a custom wellness program that is developed according to the organization’s strategic priorities, values, resources and most importantly, needs of the workforce.

From fresh fruit to dance and yoga lessons; wearables and personalized health programs: workplace wellbeing offers something for everyone.


Work Cited:

The Future Laboratories: Workforce Futures. UBS. (2016)
Baicker, Katherine, David Cutler, and Zirui Song. “Workplace wellness programs can generate savings”. Health Affairs 29(2)(2010): 304-311.

Berry, Leonard L., Ann M. Mirabito, and William B. Baun. “What’s The Hard Return On Employee Wellness Programs?”. Harvard Business Review (2010)

Vesely, Rebecca. “Shaping up: Workplace Wellness in the ’80s and Today -Workforce Magazine.” NULL. (2012)

“WHO | Workplace Health Promotion”. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.

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