When I was out there in corporate America both as an employee and a manager in a retail setting, I wish we had had a wellness program for myself and my junior staff. There are many reasons for having such a program on site. These include a reduction in heart disease and stroke, a reduction in the number of sick days being used, an overall reduction of medical costs as well as overall happier and more productive employees.
Unfortunately, in the US, employers are wont to offer these types of services to their employees. In my opinion, this is because the initial costs may be somewhat prohibitive, however, I believe that the upside benefits far outweigh the financial cost. I also believe that having irritable and sick employees poses more of a financial risk than having such a program in place.
Cost of Sick Days
Another benefit is that psychologically, it gives the employees the ability to decompress, socialize and therefore, their productivity should go up. According to an article from DecodedScience.com, whooping cough the use of sick days, especially during cold and flu season causes losses of productivity in the US annually of $80,000,000 and the absenteeism rate goes up to 32% and the loss of profits is a staggering $17 billion dollars.
To my mind, these are absolutely unacceptable losses. Another upside benefit is that to the customers. By way of example, with whooping cough, there was no way I could go to the office and take care of my mortgage clients, let alone manage my employees. I was able to do work online from home, but, I could not process loans already in the pipeline for closing. As a direct result, I lost money as did my employer and I lost clients as a direct result.
Absolutely, there is a direct link between sitting at a desk all day and heart disease, stroke and other problems, not to mention back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches. An in-house wellness program would benefit everybody in the office from the secretary all the way up to the CEO.
The United States has the highest medical costs, including the costs of the hospital, prescriptions, and treatments in the world in terms of GDP and on a per capita basis.
Another vicious problem is in the area of employee burnout. When an employee burns out from the stress not just from the office, but also the stress of problems at home, this is even harder to overcome because the trickle down effect to the customers can be very deleterious. In my opinion, it is better to have an in-house employee wellness program that can be accessed to the betterment of the entire company, customer relationships and an upside benefit to the businesses’ bottom line and productivity, no matter how small your business is.