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Why corporate wellness is important

Corporate health and wellness is more important than ever. Here’s why.

In recent years, there has been a distinct shift in the way companies are approaching corporate wellness programmes – employee wellness has become a serious focus. As a result, many organisations are starting to invest more in comprehensive employee wellness programmes that aim to address work-life balance.

However, investing more doesn’t mean these programmes are always successful. Research points to five key elements for a successful employee wellness programme: 

  • It needs to be practical and accessible (a variety of on-site employee health services).
  • Employers must create a health-conscious environment (healthy food options in the canteen, supportive messaging, healthy workspaces).
  • The company structure should integrate employee health and wellness (comprehensive and compliant wellness programmes).
  • Wellness should be linked to existing support benefits (employee assistance programmes help workers deal with emotional, financial, legal or physical challenges).
  • Health screenings and education (regular health awareness days) should be included.

In addition, employees must be involved and buy into the idea because preventable illness is a complete lifestyle and behaviour change, which takes time and commitment. Of particular interest to South African organisations is the disease burden of preventable illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, stroke and cancers linked to lifestyle choices. Research has shown that diseases of lifestyle can be largely mitigated through tailored interventions that promote a healthier diet, increased levels of physical activity, regular health checks and taking care of psychosocial wellness.  

Mental health is also drawing renewed focus. Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability, with 7.5% of people living with disability in 2015. 

With work-related stress and healthcare costs on the rise, the need for corporate wellness cannot be overstated.

'The mental health and wellbeing of employees is critical for maintaining sustainable levels of employee engagement, resilience in the face of organisational change, motivation and innovation. Through an integrated employee wellness approach, employers can benefit through the positive impact on productivity and business performance,' says Dr Leanne Mandim, Head of Employee Health and Wellness Solutions for Life Employee Health Solutions

'A well-managed comprehensive and holistic wellness programme can have definite benefits in positively managing risks surrounding depression and anxiety,' Dr Mandim adds.

The benefits for employers go beyond combating absenteeism and productivity. They also include:

  • Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy employees
  • Reduced healthcare costs
  • Decreased rates of illness and injury
  • Achieved company objectives
  • Improved employee morale
  • Increased productivity

Life Employee Health Solutions (delivered by Careways and Life Occupational Health) offers employers a uniquely integrated approach that can potentially save an organisation money and increase productivity. Find out more about Life Employee Health Solutions – a 2018 finalist in the Top 500 awards for workplace wellness.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE. Life Healthcare Group Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided.