For millions of Canadians, going to work is an integral part of life. Whether it is part-time or full-time, the hours spent at work by Canadians take up quite a significant amount of time each week. According to Statistics Canada, the average amount of hours spent by part-time and full-time employees at work comes to about 37 hours per week. To put that into perspective, there are 168 hours in a week, and adults spend almost one fifth of their week being at work.
With the amount of time that individuals spend at work, it is important to consider that this can take a toll on the well-being of employees. Over one in four Canadians reported in a Statistics Canada survey that they feel highly stressed in their lives, with work being the primary reason.
To make matters worse, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are feeling more stressed than usual according to a recent study conducted by Nanos for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. One of the key takeaways from this study found that more than three in four Canadians have never looked online to find information about mental health. In addition, Canadians who did find information on health and wellness, considered these findings to be extremely helpful.
This then brings us to the focal point of this blog, which is the importance of incorporating wellness programs in the workplace. To piece all the information above, individuals spend a significant amount of time at work, which is one of the main stressors that impacts their well-being. However, just as the study above suggested, not everyone is aware of the resources available to them to consult help. With this information in mind, this emphasizes the importance of employers to offer wellness programs in the workplace.
Offering this type of service would be mutually beneficial for both employers and employees. Here are four reasons why wellness programs are essential for every workplace.
1) Boost Employee Productivity
While stress for many individuals may stem from work, it is not just the only outlet where stress is present. For some, stress can come from other factors outside of the workplace, and this can affect the productivity of employees. In an article published by Harvard Medical School, it found that stress can take a toll on an individual’s health and career, and thus affects their productivity at work. On top of this, many employees who have mental illnesses are often reluctant to speak up about it as they sometimes feel like it would affect their jobs as suggested by the Harvard study.
By having a wellness program, it can help support the well-being of employees, which would then promote productivity in the workplace. In a report published by Sun Life Financial, employees who have access to wellness programs in the workplace have been more productive and more engaged in the workplace. If employees are in a workplace where their employer provides them with the support they need, then employees are certainly more inclined to put their best work forward.
2) Improve ROI For Companies
Mental illness is costly, and this applies for both companies and the entire economy. According to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion CAD annually in Canada. It is estimated that depression and anxiety costs the global economy $1 trillion USD annually in lost productivity according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These are alarming statistics, and this cost is also derived from the workplace where companies lose money from failing to invest in wellness programs to ensure the well-being of employees.
Companies who implement wellness programs actually receive a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to companies who do not. In a report by Deloitte, companies who had a mental wellness program in place for one year experienced a $1.62 CAD ROI annually for every dollar invested in the program. Plus, companies who have had these programs for over three years received a median annual ROI of $2.18 CAD per dollar. It is clear that investing in wellness programs in the workplace is crucial in improving the bottom line for companies, but most importantly, it protects and enhances the mental health of employees.
3) Become a More Desirable Workplace
Employees, whether they are former, future or current are most likely going to speak about their experiences in a given workplace. Often, employees will only speak about their experiences if they have been positive or negative, and websites like Glassdoor and Indeed offer employees a platform to rate their experiences with a company. In the context of wellness programs, employees who feel that they are mentally supported in the workplace are more likely to speak about their experiences in a positive way. It is common to see the primary complaints of workplaces to be too stressful, but companies who offer ways to mitigate stress through wellness programs would likely have employees who would praise these incentives.
In a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only half of workplaces offer a wellness program. In the perspective of Human Resources, one way to promote the desirability of a company would be to mention a wellness program if it is available, as multiple studies have reiterated the importance of having them in the workplace to support employees.
4) Improve Overall Health of Employees
Earlier in this blog, it was mentioned that many individuals do not know where to find resources to support their mental health. While companies have made a significant impact in improving the well-being of employees through wellness programs in the workplace, this improvement goes beyond the workplace. Some employees who have used these wellness programs are finding that it helps them even outside of the workplace to improve their overall health.
In a study conducted by Aflac, 61 percent of employees have made healthier lifestyle choices as a result of their company’s wellness programs. Along with this finding, employees also reported higher levels of job satisfaction, which also supports the previous point of employees praising their company for the resources they have available.
How Well Street Can Help
At Well Street, we are founded on the principles of introducing healthy practices to the workplace, which encompasses both mental and physical health. Comprised of medical professionals who have a background in naturopathy, we aim to help organizations foster a healthy corporate environment in order to boost productivity and morale.
We understand that not all companies have the resources available to provide a wellness program to employees. We can assist your company and your employees by providing our expertise to introduce healthy practices that would protect and enhance the well-being of all employees.
If you would like to learn more about how our team can help your company, consider contacting us to find out more. We are happy to provide you with guidelines and approaches to support the wellbeing of your team members through virtual seminars.