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How to Build an Employee Wellness Programme

“When people are healthy in their body and mind, they are more productive. They’re more friendly. There’s less absenteeism because people are not off with stress or mental health leave. When people are mentally healthier, we are more creative.”
Dr David Hamilton, our kindness tsar and author of 11 books on wellness. 

35% of office workers said their mental health degraded since working from home during the pandemic, a statistic which has raised the importance of wellness for employers. While the pandemic itself was a significant factor, there is a continuing concern that working remotely can cause employees to feel disconnected from their team and increase loneliness. As a result, many employers are looking closely at the well-being support and benefits they can offer their workforce.

A workplace wellness programme is not a one-size-fits-all fix. It requires a tailored solution, with input from employees, support from senior leadership and ongoing monitoring for it to be successful.

Organisations with the most successful wellness programmes begin by asking employees about the kind of support they want to see in the workplace and keep the lines of communication open to track how those needs evolve. Companies such as Alfa Financial Software run a pulse survey every two months and ensure there is a two-way communication channel so there are multiple places where people can contribute ideas.

If you’re wondering what to include in a wellness programme, our kindness tsar, Dr David Hamilton, recommends starting with the five components influencing health, as advocated by the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
These pillars are:

  • Stress
  • Community
  • Sleep Quality
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity

Each of these is integral to physical health and well-being and offers a great starting point when considering what to include in a wellness programme.

“Employee wellness comes from two sides. From the non-commercial business side, it’s important because you want people to live balanced, healthy lives and understand what happiness is for them and how they can provide balance to themselves. In the commercial/corporate sense, the better the wellbeing and balance is, the better the productivity; there’s less employee turnover, less cost of hiring – there are real, quantifiable benefits [to workplace wellness].”
Emily Lofting-Kisakye, HR Director for Cognita Schools

A study from the American Psychological Association agrees with our experts. The study shows that workplace wellness programmes with senior leadership support yielded positive employee outcomes, with 89% of employees saying they would recommend their company as a great place to work, and 91% of people said that they were more motivated to do their best at work as a result.

For the full story on wellness at work, download our well-being guide. 

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