Workplace Wellbeing As A Business Strategy
ON average, Nigerians, especially those living in Lagos, spend more than one-third of their day, five days a week at the office and 83 per cent of this number spend their time sedentary at their desks.
This is also coupled with the fact that almost another third of the daily time is spent in traffic getting to and from work, most individuals are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and out of balance.
The cost of this lifestyle has contributed to the increase in the occurrences of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in Nigeria.
Nearly two-thirds of Nigerians are overweight or obese, which doubles the risk of heart disease and stroke.
This poor lifestyle is costing both the Nigerian employees and organisations directly and indirectly. Annual healthcare costs spent on employees with aliments like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, all consequences of an unbalanced lifestyle coupled with health-related productivity losses, can add up to a lot of billion naira per year.
What can we do about it? The most feasible solution is to bring wellness programmes into the workplace.
For any organisation, your employees are your greatest resource, so there is great value in investing in their wellbeing, this goes deeper than HMO subscriptions (though this is well appreciated), which usually kicks in when employees fall ill and thus too late, workplace wellness strategies and programmes, educate and equip the employees on how to stay well and find balance in their body and mind, especially with the pressures of work.
Look at it this way, it is always more cost effective to service a car regularly than to repair it when it breaks down. Same with the body; it is more cost effective (financially, physically, mentally and emotionally) to service and maintain your body than to treat and recover from illness.
This regular servicing and maintenance should be a joint effort by both employers and employees and like every joint effort, joint benefits are reaped
Some of the potential benefits of a successful workplace wellness programme are:
• Lower health care costs.
• Enhanced employee productivity.
• Reduced employee absenteeism and presenteeism.
• Decreased rates of illness and injuries.
• Enhanced corporate image.
• Improved employee morale.
• Improved employee recruitment and retention.
• Increased organisational commitment and creation of a culture of health.
• Increased wellbeing, self-image and self-esteem.
• Improved coping skills with stress or other factors affecting health.
• Improved health status, lower costs for acute health issues.
• Lower out of pocket costs for health care services (e.g. reduced premiums, deductibles, co-payments),
• Increased access to health promotion resources and social support.
• Improved job satisfaction.
• Safer and more supportive work environment.
As the year draws to a close, let us plan to do things differently in our workplace. Let us invest in the people that make it happen. Lets love our bodies…