Did you know that stress causes or worsens 90% of all illnesses1? With stress levels at an all-time high for many, now is a great time to focus on how to help your employees be and stay well.
Over the past few years, companies have come to realize the power of investing in mental health. In fact, 88% of U.S. companies2 are investing more in mental health, notably on stress-management and resilience resources.
Is it worth it?
While you want what’s best for your employees, you may be asking yourself, “What’s in it for the company?” Well, it turns out – a lot. There is data to support the powerful benefits of offering employee well-being programs—physical, behavioral, social or financial—through work. These include:
One study found 80% of employees want perks or benefits more than they want a pay raise!11
What perks are you going to offer?
Before offering new wellness programs, get a baseline assessment regarding where your employees are regarding their overall health—think beyond just physical and mental health to social and financial health— as well as what benefits they want. Also consider where your employees are located. Given that remote work is here to stay, you want to consider how perks are disseminated.
With the change in times, this is a great time to reconsider past programs offered to your employees to assess what they really need or could benefit from now. This goes beyond “basics” like health insurance, parental leave, sick leave, vacation time.
Here are some options to consider, depending on your office culture and environment, when it comes to company-offered benefits to help employees stay well:
How do you know what programs are best? Ask your employees what they want. And consider offering team members the opportunity to choose from different options, such as a standing desk, gym membership or monthly massage.
Make sure to consider…
It is vital to note that merely offering these benefits will not result in the desired transformations. Culture is of utmost importance to ensure that employees are actually using the services and programs you provide.
As an example, one company trained all its employees in a particular type of meditation that calls for two daily practices for 20 minutes each. At this company, team members typically worked 10-12 hour days. After being trained, however, management shunned employees from taking time out of their workday to practice their meditation. The result? Not only did most team members not implement the mediation they learned, but they also developed resentment towards the company with a sense that the company cared more about looking good than being invested in their mental and physical well-being.
As such, make sure that management is not only open to team members engaging in your programs, but also encourages them to participate.
One study found how pivotal culture can be.13 “In supportive organizations (those that favored work-life balance and where employees felt safe to share their struggles), the incidence of mental health issues dropped by 40%, and workers there felt almost twice as likely to be able to cope with the everyday stresses of work.
A survey by Great Places to Work14 of workers during the COVID crisis found that, more than perks, what employees want right now are the following:
(1) Mutual trust between leadership and workers
(2) A culture focusing on “we’re all in this together,”
(3) Emotional wellness
(4) Commitment to inclusion, equity and diversity.
So, regardless of what programs you offer your employees, consider how you are creating a culture that encompasses these key variables.
Ready to make some changes?
A Combined Insurance agent can help you look over your benefits package and suggest additional options for your employees. Fill out this form, and an agent will contact you to answer any questions you may have about supplemental insurance, coverage options, and provide you with a quote.
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is a Licensed Practicing Psychologist with a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Master's degree in Physical Therapy, and the authority on how to crush your inner critic so that you can live a life of purpose, fulfillment and True Success™. She’s America’s most trusted celebrity psychologist with over 100 national media interviews. She writes for Combined Insurance in an effort to help educate readers, but her medical opinions and advice are for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for visiting your doctor. She can be reached at DrE@ElizabethLombardo.
1- Stress Management for the Health of It. NASD. (n.d.). https://nasdonline.org/1445/d001245/stress-management-for-the-health-of-it.html.
2- Strong, N. (2021, January 4). 2021 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report. https://blog.wellable.co/2021-employee-wellness-industry-trends-report.
3- Story, C. (2020, March 29). What’s the Connection Between High Blood Cholesterol and Hypertension? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/treating-with-statins/hypertension#1.
4- Rossi, A. (Ed.). (2010). Wellness programs on the rise. Biotechnology healthcare. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873731/#:~:text=A%20meta%2Danalysis%20of%20the,%241%20spent%20(Baicker%202010).
5- Baicker, Katherine, David Cutler, Zirui Song. Health Affairs. Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings. Accessed February 8, 2019.
6- AI;, B. W. N. M. A. W. (n.d.). Pharmaceuticals and worker productivity loss: a critical review of the literature. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12802214/.
7- Employees Place a Premium on Culture of Wellness but Employers Still Struggle to Communicate and Measure the Effectiveness of Programs, According to New Virgin HealthMiles Survey. Employees Place a Premium on Culture of Wellness but Employers Still Struggle to Communicate and Measure the Effectiveness of Programs, According to New Virgin HealthMiles Survey | Business Wire. (2013, June 3). https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130603005303/en/Employees-Place-a-Premium-on-Culture-of-Wellness-but-Employers-Still-Struggle-to-Communicate-and-Measure-the-Effectiveness-of-Programs-According-to-New-Virgin-HealthMiles-Survey.
8- Malcolm, H. (2015, September 16). Study: The key to happiness at work is free snacks. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/09/16/study-says-snacks-affect-happiness-at-work/72259746/.
9- Circle, V. (2021, May 20). Employee Engagement Survey: Everything you need to know. Nurture an Engaged and Satisfied Workforce | Vantage Circle HR Blog. https://blog.vantagecircle.com/employee-engagement-survey/.
10- Importance of Employee Benefits: Increased Focus, Loyalty, & More. Patriot Software. (2021, January 28). https://www.patriotsoftware.com/blog/payroll/why-are-employee-benefits-important-purpose/#:~:text=According%20to%20one%20survey%2C%2060,important%20to%20their%20employer%20loyalty.&text=Actually%2C%2036%25%20of%20employees%20say,keep%20them%20in%20their%20jobs.
11- Fractl. (2020, June 10). Employee Benefits Study: The Cost and Value of Employee Perks. Fractl. https://www.frac.tl/employee-benefits-study/#:~:text=Fifty%2Dseven%20percent%20of%20people,they%20want%20a%20pay%20raise.
12- Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work.
13- Accenture. (n.d.). It's Not 1 in 4 it's All of Us: Why Supporting the Mental Health of Younger Workers Starts with Organisational Culture . Accenture. Why Supporting the Mental Health of Younger Workers Starts with Organisational Culture .
14- Work, G. P. to. (n.d.). It's Time to Rethink Job Perks for a Post Pandemic World. Great Place to Work®. https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/it-s-time-to-rethink-job-perks-for-a-post-pandemic-world.