It’s very easy to think of employee wellness provision as a ‘nice to have’ – a popular perk that drives employee satisfaction and retention.
Equally easy, if you provide health insurance for your employees, to see it as a way to keep premiums down by keeping staff health levels up.
But in fact – although it is indeed all of these things – it is far more besides, with robust evidence proving the role of corporate wellbeing in driving overall workforce productivity and business profitability.
A strong financial case
Absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’ are huge challenges in the world of business: in 2016, a study published in the Lancet estimated that US$13.7bn was being lost to the global economy every year as a result of diminished workforce productivity.
The good news is that employees are more productive at work, and take less time off sick, if they’re physically active: as far back as 2013, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that, for every £1 invested, employee wellness programmes led to an average £7 saving in previously lost productivity.
Meanwhile, a study by Swedish university Karolinska Institutet analysed a corporate wellness programme involving 472 workers throughout 2010. They found that, despite taking time out of their working hours to exercise, workers still achieved the same – or in some cases even higher – levels of productivity.
Researcher Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz said: “This increased productivity comes, on the one hand, from people getting more done during the hours they are at work – perhaps because of increased stamina – and, on the other hand, from less absenteeism owing to sickness.”
Quite simply, our bodies are more able to cope with the pressures of work if we’re fit, healthy and well-rested; the role of exercise in improving sleep quality, by ensuring we are physically as well as mentally tired, is also key.
But perhaps even more important is the role of exercise in helping us cope mentally, not only ensuring we’re firing on all cylinders – with improved motivation, mental clarity and focus – but also ensuring we’re equipped with the mental resilience to thrive in a pressured environment. Indeed, with stress a major cause of absenteeism across the developed world, the extensive body of research highlighting the role of exercise in stress management is perhaps the strongest argument of all for a well-thought-out employee wellness offering.
An engaging in-house offering
So, how can your business ensure its employees are engaged in health- and performance-boosting physical activity?
Subsidised gym membership can be an option, but won’t appeal to everyone: some people simply aren’t comfortable exercising in a gym environment, or feel they don’t have the time.
The key is to make being active unintimidating and utterly convenient for your staff, ensuring exercise opportunities are on-hand wherever and whenever they want them.
In-house, a Wexer virtual group exercise studio can be a great solution. From the perspective of your business as the wellbeing provider, it’s a truly hassle-free solution: classes can be offered on-demand, allowing members to choose their own workouts, while the reliability of our platform is unparalleled in the market. Indeed, across all our clients in more than 50 countries, our system is up and running more than 99.9% of the time; 24/7 tech support is available for the other less than 0.1% of the time.
In addition, if you want to gain an understanding of your employees’ interests and exercise habits for further evolution of your wellbeing offering, that’s also possible, with the Wexer platform gathering usage data automatically.
From an exerciser perspective, it’s also very hard to beat: at any point of the day (or night, for night-shift workers), employees can select the workout of their choice from more than 1,000 world-class virtual group exercise classes, all led by the top instructors from around the globe. Whether they want to pack a half-hour HIIT class into their lunch break, or need to escape their desk for a short spell of meditation or yoga to decompress, it’s all here, on-demand, catering for all fitness and experience levels and ready to start at the push of a button.
Even better, research shows virtual classes can help address the intimidation factor: in the health club environment, for example, newer members often use virtual group exercise to familiarise themselves with the moves before venturing in to a live class. This is a route in to exercise that has broad appeal.
Any time, anywhere
It’s also important to offer opportunities outside of the working environment, embracing digital channels – in particular, the internet-enabled devices people carry with them 24/7 – so employees can access workout and wellbeing inspiration, advice and guidance any time, anywhere.
This is where the Wexer Web Player comes in. This web-based portal allows exercisers to stream their choice of virtual group exercise class to any internet-enabled device, so they can work out whenever they choose, for however long they have available, wherever they are – at home, in the office, on holiday, working abroad… even on their commute.
It’s about embracing technology to make world-class exercise available to more people – and with it, enhance your company’s productivity and profitability.
Let Wexer help you shape a digital wellbeing ecosystem around the needs of your business: convenient for end users, easy to administer for the business, and gathering anonymised data on employee activities to continually evolve the offering and maximise the positive impact for employee and employer alike.
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