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well-being

May 20, 2021

Want to Increase Productivity? Focus on the Well-being of Your Employees

It’s hard to find a business that doesn’t want to increase employee productivity. Productivity has been defined and measured in several ways, but at its most basic, it refers to the amount of work completed by an employee in a specific time frame. A number of factors affect worker productivity. 

Many business owners and managers focus on things like management practices, work environment, and the use of technology. However, one thing that often gets overlooked is employee well-being. This shouldn’t be. Sick or stressed workers contribute significantly to absenteeism and presenteeism – two of the factors which have a deleterious impact on productivity. In this blog post, we’ll focus on why the health and wellness of your workers play a crucial role in their ability to produce at optimal levels.

Research shows that there’s a clear link between productivity and the general health of the workforce. According to the International Labour Organization, the most progressive organizations take employee well-being seriously because they know that their people are important. Other organizations are finally coming on board because they realize that a lack of care for their workers is responsible for many of the challenges they face. 

Why Offer Employee Well-Being Programs in Your Organization

Physical and mental illness can easily lead to low productivity because they result in absenteeism and presenteeism. If you don’t look out for your employees’ well-being, issues like chronic disease, substance abuse, mental health disorders, and bullying could arise. This is why many organizations are going beyond traditional safety and health initiatives to include a focus on diet, exercise, and mental health. Ideally, employee well-being programs should provide the tools, incentives, and support for picking up and maintaining healthy practices.

The Value of Boosting Employee well-being

Employees who are unwell will either stay away from work or show up and produce at lower levels. Research shows that presenteeism – turning up for work but not fully functioning – can lower individual productivity by 33% or even more. Poor health is only one reason for presenteeism, but it is a significant one. Measuring presenteeism is a lot harder than measuring absenteeism, but it costs companies billions of dollars annually. Some suggest that it costs two to three times more than direct health care costs.

One study found that workers who smoke, eat an unhealthy diet, or don’t exercise regularly are more likely to record high presenteeism levels. Risk factors such as high blood pressure, excess weight, and high cholesterol also make it more likely that an employee will come to work but not give of their best. These factors, along with pain and chronic illness, including chronic depression, can further exacerbate the situation.

Poor health is also linked to absenteeism, as demonstrated by studies from the United Kingdom. A survey of 25,000 health care workers concluded that those who smoked were two times as likely to take time off work. Meanwhile, a study among Transport for London employees found that every year, obese workers took an average of three sick days more than those of normal weight. Those who were severely obese took six days more. 

Numerous studies support the link between employee well-being and individual productivity. By instituting a wide-ranging well-being program, you can improve both the health of your workers and your organization’s bottom line. While it’s not an instant solution to all your company’s problems, it will help to change the culture and boost morale. At the same time, you’ll be able to reduce the amount you have to spend on healthcare. 

Workers want to feel appreciated and cared for. If you can contribute to their mental, emotional and physical well-being, they’re more likely to highly productive. They’ll be more eager to come to work, more creative, and better able to solve problems.

Let WiseForce Help You Meet the Needs of Your Mature Employees

People of all ages can suffer from poor health. However, people tend to experience more health challenges as they get older. People also become more concerned about maintaining their health as they age. This means that your 50-plus employees may be especially interested in your health and wellness offerings. They may have specific needs that they want employers to meet. 

Given the knowledge and experience that mature workers possess, you’ll want to do everything you can to attract and retain them. If you want to provide mature employees with the support they need to be truly productive, schedule a consultation with the team at WiseForce Advisors. Email us at info@wiseforceadvisors.com to benefit from our human resources expertise.