3 Reasons to Design a Workplace Wellness Program

Jessie Miño
Jessie Miño
Published on 
3.2.2022

Since 2020 everyone’s lives have changed. 

WFH, RTO, Remote, Hybrid, are all terms now ingrained in our daily vernacular. It’s been a big adjustment across the board. Not to mention the emotional & mental toll these shifts have taken on us. Most times it seems that we’re not only working from home, but living where we work.

If you’re currently a part of a workforce team, across any industry or any location, and have had similar experiences, is your company offering a wellness program to help teams navigate through these challenges?

We recently polled 576 full-time employees to learn more about their views on company perks while also gaining insights into how their employers have (or have not) adjusted in the past two years. Interestingly enough, we found: 

  • Millennials view perks and benefits as one of the top three items they look at when choosing an employer.
  • Gen Z employees would like to see a wellness stipend introduced as an added perk and want additional mental health resources offered to them.

Our data revealed that the Gen Z and young Millenials (18-29) group of workers, in addition to additional time off, wish their employers would introduce a wellness stipend (32%). They also care more about mental health resources than any other age group, with 91% stating that additional mental health benefits are important to them. 

As a leader, responsible for employee wellbeing,  is there currently a wellness program in place at your organization?

The Mental Health and Wellness Landscape

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is mental health? 

According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Many people think of wellness as simply a physical form of well-being for employees. However, your mental well-being is just as - if not more - important and one that should be included for a complete workplace wellness program.  

In our lives, both in and out of work, all of these factors are a huge contributor to how we handle ourselves & consequently all other relationships. Family, friends, co-workers and customers are all affected by the state of our mental health & well-being. 

A study by the New York Times discovered that therapists say the state of Americans’ mental health is a “second pandemic.” Plus, according to Lyra Health, during 2020-2021 40% of employees reported feeling burnt out and 65% say stress is impacting their ability to work.

What’s been the response from leaders in the workplace? For 2021, employers invested most in: 

  • Mental health (88%)
  • Telemedicine (87%)
  • Stress management/resilience (81%)
  • Mindfulness and meditation (69%)

85% of C-level and HR leaders believe mental health is not just about mental illness but is something every employee experiences.  

In fact, according to a study by Forrester, mental health saw increased focus in 2020, with 86% of respondents acknowledging its rising importance at their organizations. Industry leaders including Starbucks, Morgan Stanley, Genentech, and others have made an investment in their workforce's mental health to address issues today and build long-term workforce resilience.

Still undecided if this is necessary for your company? Let’s take a look at 3 core reasons why it should be a consideration for 2021 and beyond. 

3 Reasons to Design a Workplace Wellness Program

1. Decrease Employee Churn

Workers who feel unsupported by their employer are twice as likely to consider a

career change. We’ve seen the surge of resignations in this last year, totaling a record 4.3 million workers who quit their jobs. Is retaining employees a priority for your organization? 

Consider implementing a complete workplace wellness program. Not only will you show your employees that you care about them & their families as you advocate for their health, but this will also help you attract top talent. 

Companies all across industries are exploring ways to make this happen. LinkedIn, for example, found that burnout is up by 33% compared to last year, with survey respondents reporting high levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed.

To help employees excel even during times of stress, LinkedIn Learning created six new courses on topics like meditation, enhancing resilience, and dealing with grief and loss. Embracing various strategies and making mental health a focus, a business can position itself as well as possible to successfully retain their employees.

2. Increase Employee Loyalty

One of the most important aspects of your business is worth valuing. Designing a workplace wellness program incentivizes employees to create positive and healthy habits that touch every point of their life. 

When a company has a complete wellness program in place - body + mind - employees feel valued and supported. It helps them to be more equipped to deal with challenges at work as well as challenges outside of work that impact their performance. 

Companies that have already implemented programs such as these have experienced an 80% improvement in organizational performance. In fact, 79% of employees are likely to stay at a company that provides high quality mental health resources.

When employees feel encouraged by their employer to be their best-self and supported to lead a more inclusive healthy lifestyle, they will continue to show up for your company. 

3. Create Success for Everyone

Your employees aren’t the only ones benefiting from your wellness program. A study from the National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago uncovered that employees experiencing mental distress use, on average, nearly $3,000 more in health care services per year than their peers. 

The cost of days lost averages $4,783 per year per employee, and the costs of turnover averages $5,733 per year per employee. Wouldn’t you like to get ahead of costs when it comes to absenteeism, presenteeism, recruitment & healthcare costs? 

Not only would employees have access to a wellness program that truly works for them, but your company can benefit from managing these costs in a more effective way that works for everyone. It’s a reciprocal process. The more you, as an employer, offer your teams a way to remediate factors affecting their physical & mental wellness, the higher your employees’ engagement & productivity will be. 

Workplace Wellness is Here to Stay 

Although the pandemic created various scenarios for everyone, the common thread is that it highlighted how very similar we’ve all felt because of it.

Beyond that, the unquestionable fact is that health & wellness - both body and mind - is not just a “nice to have”, but table stakes for any company. 

Making the necessary plans now to design and incorporate a holistic wellness program will bring about benefits for everyone and can truly transform how we work and how we lead our lives. 

If your organization has this in the works (or thinking about it) and you’re looking for ways to head back to the office to get this going, Robin can help your teams come together.