Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said that ‘there is little success where there is little laughter’. It took a while for businesses to understand the gravitas behind that statement.
But finally, the business world seems to have woken up to the benefits of corporate wellness programs. A tad late for sure, but better late than never.
Companies in Australia lose $6.3 billion every year to absenteeism and presenteeism. It’s no wonder that there’s a sudden urge to integrate corporate wellness programs into the work culture, rather than offer it as an added incentive.
Having said that, the Australian approach to wellness seems immature and rooted in ROI. It is important for employers to understand the fundamentals of workplace wellness before diving headfirst into any fancy program with tokenistic offerings.
Here are the three cornerstones of successful corporate wellness programs.
#1 – Mental Health
Mental health is of paramount importance for any employee’s mood, drive, focus and. A happy brain is a more productive brain that can tackle workplace stressors more easily. It enables an employee to take better business decisions. So, any corporate wellness program that you engage with, must take a mental-health-first approach.
Mindfulness is not a mere buzzword being thrown around by wellness savants. It is a science-backed technique that has immense, quantifiable benefits for an employee’s mental health. Moreover, it’s so easy to incorporate that employers would be foolish to not engage with a corporate wellness partner in Australia, who offers mindfulness programs.
#2 – Physical Health
The hustle-culture often leads to overworked employees who stay glued to their work desks for hours at end. This creates a domino effect that has far reaching implications on both, physical and mental health. A five-minute walk around the workplace will not only stretch weary muscles, it will also provide their eyes and minds with a much-needed reset.
It doesn’t even have to be the mandatory (done-to-death) ping-pong table. A yoga studio in the office offers both physical and mental health benefits. Yoga is immensely beneficial for spinal health. But a lot of people are unaware that it’s equally beneficial for mental health. Even short bursts of yoga poses can help reduce anxiety and depression.
Happy Melon offers in-office, or in-studio yoga sessions on-demand. Their corporate wellness programs also include mindfulness breaks which come with a stack of proven benefits.
#3 – Conducive work culture
Any discussion about potential flaws in the work culture is met with polarized reactions from employers. But the role of a healthy work culture that encourages big picture conversations, and offers support for an employee’s goals and ambitions cannot be denied.
Business leaders must lead from the front to foster a healthy work culture. For instance, take a walk at lunch time and encourage your employees to join. This creates a great opportunity for workplace conversations to take a back seat, and instead focus on employee goals outside of the workplace.
Rather than sending morning email reminders about fast-approaching deadlines, and mandating unreasonable work hours, encourage employees to get out of office post work hours. Skip the hierarchy and have an open-door policy where colleagues can communicate one-on-one.
This creates a sense of inclusiveness and can be very effective at preventing work-related depression.