As MEED launches the seventh edition of the annual Corporate Health and Wellness Awards we ask, why bother?

A sedentary workplace and lengthening working day are two key contributors to employees’ health, but why should an employer care about getting teams exercising and eating well?

Surely wellness is a personal decision?  What can a business really gain from investment in a corporate health and wellbeing program?

Frankly, much is to be gained. Here is a list of reasons why you and your colleagues should engage in employee health and wellbeing and how such initiatives can strengthen your company and impact your bottom line.

Increased Productivity

There are two basic pillars to employee wellbeing: providing and promoting the chance to do some daily exercise and access to healthy food.

The endorphins that are released during regular exercise help us to feel more positive, energetic and also help us to focus.  A balanced diet boosts our immune systems and reduces the risk of obesity meaning that as employees we stay healthier.

Fewer sick days from employees with positive outlooks…. Who would say no to that?

Developing Company Culture

More so than ever before corporate culture is a key influencer to attracting and retaining talent as well as maintaining a productive workforce.  Employee health and wellbeing initiatives play an important role in defining culture within an organisation.

There is no shortage of evidence among the Daman Corporate Health and Wellness award winners to support the fact that health and wellness programs contribute to employees’ social connections, ability to work as a team and can even boost productivity by igniting friendly inter-departmental competitiveness.

Encouraging the development of social networks (not the digital ones, the human ones) and developing cooperation across the business positively feeds corporate culture and plays to our first point – increased productivity.

Reduced Burnout

A 2018 Gallup study* of just under 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while a further 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.

It is hard to nail down the numbers but in the US it is estimated that burnout accounts for somewhere between $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending each year related to non-communicable diseases in those under the age of 45 including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and high cholesterol as well as stress.

What is one of the key contributors to burnout?  Missing the mark on work-life balance.

In the face of a connected life and the expectation that we are all available to clients and colleagues after-hours it can be difficult to help employees switch off.

Encourage the planning and taking of holidays.  Create breaks during the workday for exercise, time out or a healthy meal to help employees avoid burnout.

Lower Turnover

Reward and recognition are the go-to tools for retention of talent. However, as we have already discussed culture and providing a healthy workplace are two other key tools in the reduction of turnover.

Benefits like a gym membership, fresh fruit bowls in the pantry, mindfulness training have all been successfully deployed by the UAEs leading employers and winners of the Daman Corporate Health and Wellness Awards.  Simply showing your employees that you care about them and want them to thrive at work is often enough to retain and nurture loyalty.

Be Inspired

You may feel your business is too big to change or that you are too small to afford to focus on employee wellbeing however, company size and budget do not have to block employee health and wellbeing initiatives.

Read some of the tips and case studies on the Corporate Health and Wellbeing Hub which we launched with The National Health Insurance Company – Daman in 2019.

Have a go at implementing one of these simple ideas:

  • Replace processed snacks with items like fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts
  • Create interdepartmental teams and set quarterly fitness goals, such as kilos lost or steps taken
  • Implement standing desks
  • Create an incentive program for employees to track their steps and award prizes
  • Encourage employees to get up and stretch.

Using precious budget toward employee wellness initiatives may seem inferior to other efforts with a clearer link to revenue growth but trust us, you will see a very real return on investment from a happy, healthy and productive workforce.

The Corporate Health and Wellness Awards 2020 are open for entries.

As we move into our seventh edition the Corporate Health and Wellness Awards have established themselves as an important benchmark for employers in both private and government businesses across the UAE. The awards recognize and reward organisations that prioritise employee health and wellness.

Each edition of the awards raises the bar as UAE leaders and their teams evolve.  Employers have begun to understand the benefits of workplace health and wellness and the impact on performance both of their teams and on the bottom line.

We look forward to receiving your entries for this year’s edition and watching as the UAE sets new benchmarks for success in this important area.

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Do you have a corporate health and wellness initiative that helps increase employee happiness and over-all employee welfare?

Register now to submit your entry for the 2020 Corporate Health and Wellness Awards!

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Corporate Health Case studies from past winners