6 reasons to prioritise employee health in the workplace

Man happy at work using a standing desk

The pandemic has irrevocably altered how we work and elevated employee health from an HR checklist item to a boardroom priority. The transformation underscores a broader realisation: workforce health is inseparably linked to an organisation’s resilience, adaptability, and overall success.

Now more than ever, businesses understand that fostering a healthy work environment is essential for navigating the future.

  • Emphasising employee health is a clear signal of an organisation's core values, illustrating a deep-seated commitment to nurturing a supportive and sustainable work culture.
  • As a strategic focus, it enhances the company's reputation and plays a critical role in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Organisations that invest in the wellbeing of their employees are viewed as industry leaders, supporting the idea that the health of the workforce is directly aligned with the health of the business.

1: Amplified productivity

The interconnectivity of physical health and mental clarity with work output is scientifically proven. Employees in peak physical and mental condition are less prone to sickness and fatigue and exhibit higher levels of concentration and creativity.

Incorporating regular health-focused activities into the workday, such as regular breaks, mindfulness sessions, or activities such as yoga and Pilates can significantly improve employee concentration and energy.

Pilates lessons for employees

Organisations embracing ergonomics also ensure that staff have the right tools and systems to do our jobs efficiently.

2: Enhanced loyalty and reduced staff turnover

Employees increasingly view health programmes as a reflection of their employer's commitment to their wellbeing, thereby influencing their perception of the company's value. A robust health initiative can significantly enhance employees' sense of belonging and appreciation, making them feel valued beyond their output. Organisations that embed comprehensive health and wellness programmes into their culture boost morale and fortify their brand as employers of choice, ultimately attracting and retaining top talent.

Happy woman playing netball

Health benefits are often viewed as a benchmark of how a company values its employees, with a positive correlation between the quality of these benefits and overall job satisfaction and longevity within the company.

Implementation of HRM software helps HR teams to effectively manage the increasingly extensive health and wellness programmes organisations embed into their culture. Built as a platform that allows for the monitoring and customisation of health programmes, HRM solutions help companies show their dedication to the wellbeing of every employee.

3: Innovation and creativity: the health connection

Woman enjoying swimming as a lunch break from work

Engaging in physical activity is beneficial for the body but also acts as a catalyst for creative problem-solving. Recent studies suggest that employees who exercise regularly exhibit higher levels of creativity due to the enhanced blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which stimulates cognitive function.

Consequently, organisations that encourage and facilitate physical activities, such as providing on-site gyms or organising group sports, continuously test these hypotheses, aiming for an uptick in innovative thinking and creative solutions among their teams. Posturite has a powerful collection of Move More in ’24 resources to support this.

Mental health support plays a crucial role in fostering a psychologically safe environment where innovation can thrive. Providing employees with access to mental health resources and counselling creates a culture of trust and safety, essential for the free exchange of ideas and risk-taking inherent in the creative process. Organisations that prioritise mental wellness are more likely to see their employees engage in innovative thinking, as individuals feel supported and empowered to challenge the status quo and propose novel solutions without fear of judgment or failure.

4: Cutting costs by investing in health

People discussing employee data at a meeting

Investing in health programmes can reduce long-term healthcare costs and absenteeism, offering a compelling financial rationale for companies. When employees have access to preventative care, ergonomics, mental health support, and wellness initiatives, they are less likely to require medical absences and are more likely to maintain a consistent presence at work.

5: Strengthening the employer brand and attracting talent

Standing desks for employee wellness

Health and wellness initiatives enhance an employer's brand by showcasing a commitment to employee wellbeing, setting them apart in a competitive job market. Such programmes signal to potential recruits that the company values its workforce's physical and mental health, a crucial factor for the modern professional when choosing an employer. Furthermore, companies with strong health and wellness cultures tend to have higher employee engagement and satisfaction rates, generating positive word-of-mouth, further elevating the employer's brand and appeal to top talent.

Survey data consistently reveals that top talent prioritises health and wellness benefits when selecting an employer. The shift in priorities underlines changes in workplace expectations, where a holistic approach to employee wellbeing is becoming increasingly important.

6: Legal and ethical considerations

Neglecting employee health in the workplace can lead to legal implications for organisations, including liability for workplace injuries, breaches of occupational safety and health regulations, and potential litigation. Regulatory bodies across the globe are increasingly stringent about employer responsibilities, mandating proactive measures to safeguard employee wellbeing. Failure to comply risks financial penalties and can damage a company's reputation, leading to a loss of trust among employees, customers, and partners.

Bad back due to inadequate desk chair

Beyond legal requirements, employers have a moral responsibility to prioritise their employees' health and wellbeing. This ethical obligation stems from the recognition that employees are the most valuable asset of any business, and their health directly impacts productivity, satisfaction, and overall company success. Ethical employers view employee health programmes not as an optional benefit but as a fundamental duty, contributing to a culture of respect, care, and mutual support.

Companies that proactively implement health initiatives today are positioning themselves advantageously for future compliance, potentially avoiding the rush and expense of sudden adjustments when new standards (such as those relating to remote work) come into effect.

Conclusion

Physiotherapy as a staff perk

Undoubtedly, businesses should start seeing employee health as an investment for the future, not just an extra cost. This approach boosts productivity, sparks new ideas, and builds a stronger brand. Companies focused on health and wellness are more ready for future challenges, showing a commitment to their teams that leads to greater loyalty and innovation.

The future of work is deeply connected to how well employees are looked after, with health becoming a key part of company strategies. Putting employee wellness first is an important step for keeping everyone engaged and happy, and it helps companies perform better overall. As work environments change, businesses that emphasise complete health and wellness will be ahead, redefining what it means to be an outstanding workplace.