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by Zara
20 May

How To Incorporate Corporate Wellness To Tackle Employees Stress

Employees have so many demands on their time. They want to be productive and to maintain a work-life balance. They will take advantage of corporate wellness initiatives and different work schedules and task assignments when offered.

According to Deloitte's 2018 Global Human Capital Trends, the initial movement toward corporate wellness truly originated decades ago when employers wanted to focus on the physical safety and well-being of their personnel. As one can imagine, working conditions in the United States were different then, and they have improved over time. In part, humans performed more tasks manually and with more rudimentary tools, which produced more on-the-job injuries. In the present (especially following years of intense industrial and technological research), U.S. workers tend to perform more specialized work using machines and computers and their work environments are generally safer. However, there's an urgent need for corporate wellness because our workers are more highly stressed than ever. In this series, we review some findings of the latest Deloitte survey and how it relates to group social fitness, especially having employees track their fitness successes and failures using wearable activity trackers. 


What Does The Research Say?

When you look at what employees value versus what their employers are currently offering in the area of corporate wellness, there are significant gaps to be addressed. We explore these and then offer some ideas for what employers can do:

1. 86% of employees value flexible work schedules, but only 50% of employers in the survey offer them. 

This means that highly stressed employees want to keep up with the demands of their jobs, but they also want and need to maintain their relationships with friends and family members. They need downtime and fitness time. If their employer offers a free gym membership, then they need the flexibility to come to work late or leave early while meeting their work demands. They need time for fitness and other forms of recreation. Don't expect workers to always come into work early or to leave late but not give them time off when they need it. 

2. 70%  of employees value telecommuting as a working option, but only 27%  of employers in the survey feature that benefit. 

If your employees are overwhelmed, they could be allowed to perform some or all of their essential and non-essential tasks at home. All they need is a computing device and dependable Internet access. Through telecommuting arrangements, your employees can work in an environment with less stress and noise and be present in the busy workplace (with the constant meetings and interruptions) mostly when their presence is required. They can also be given more flexibility in regards to allocating time during the workweek. It's the manager's job to be creative in finding ways to ensure that employees are still meeting their assigned deadlines.  

3. 63% Sixty-three of employees value healthy snacks, but only 32%  of organizations surveyed offer them in the work environment.

If your employees are telecommuting or just coming and going from work on more flexible schedules to match their present workload, they can consume healthy snacks at home. They have time to make smoothies before or after a trip to the gym. They can go home and grab a shower and a nap before a late afternoon meeting. Employees will eat better when they are near a kitchen and/or have instant access to freshly prepared foods. Employers can install a kitchen and stock it with healthy foods, but employers also need strategies to regulate consumption patterns and to minimize food theft and wastage. Without a kitchen or a full-service cafeteria, employers can offer catered meals and/or lean packed meals. 


A Look at Corporate Wellness: Why Employees Are Stressed Out

Recently, we came across an interesting infographic from Eastern Kentucky University that helps us to understand why workers in the U.S. are so highly stressed. In this post, we will provide you with insights on what stresses workers and how group social fitness can help.

According to the Eastern Kentucky University, these are the four highest causes of employee stress: 

  • 46% - workload
  • 28% - people issues
  • 20% - juggling one's work and personal lives
  • 6% - lack of job security.

If employers know that employers are stressed out, they are going to exhibit symptoms in the workplace. The different infographic also suggests the following insights:

  • Stressed-out employees are less productive.
  • Stressed-out employees get into more frequent conflicts with co-workers,
  • Stressed-out employees call in sick to work more often, may experience headaches, and have trouble sleeping. They have a lessened ability to concentrate on mental tasks at work and may take longer to perform tasks that they once found easy and non-stressful.
  • Stressed-out employees are exhausted from a lack of sleep (especially when they are lying awake at night and worried about work issues). They are more likely to get injured on the job due to exhaustion and a lack of alertness.

What's most staggering is that a whopping 77% of workers will experience physical symptoms from workplace stress. Some employees experiencing acute or chronic stress may feel inclined to change jobs. Employers should recognize that people have a limit to how much they can tolerate stressful job conditions, especially workload, and suffer the negative effects on their physical and mental well-being.


What's Changed

While more employers offer wellness programs than in the past, they may not provide sufficient incentives and benefits to keep their employees healthy. Many businesses in the IoT world must now offer services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Today's consumers are located all over the world and expect instant responses to their needs. Their employees are always "on," and, even when employees are not at work, they stay connected to the workplace via smartphones. This is not a social model that promotes employee work-life balance or personal freedom from stressful workloads when we are away from the office. People who mostly telecommute cannot ever "leave" their office because they work at home. They may feel stressed until the next time they check their work email, but not checking it stresses them out due to the high volume of unread messages that typically accumulate when they aren't connected.


The Future is Bright

While stressed-out employees may understand sources of job stress, they may not have the power to change their current workplace conditions. They may bring concerns to managers and get little or no relief from perceived stressors. Sometimes, employees can find relief from job stress by transferring positions or locations. At other times, workers must change employers, especially because all attempts to alleviate difficult conditions have failed. Employers can do many things to support their employees' health and to provide cost-effective tools and programs that promote work-life balance. For example, employers will assign one or more professionals to create and manage wellness programs. They will use employee surveys to find out what's working and what's not. They will help employees get convenient access to free or low-cost benefits (such as gym memberships, nutrition services, wholesale clubs like BJs and Sam's Club) and encourage participation in social fitness challenges.

Many corporate wellness strategies actually cost an employer nothing. For example, employers can offer incentives (such as an extra day off) for employees who participate in group social fitness challenges, which requires them to track their daily exercise levels on a platform like inKin.  

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

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