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Wellbeing initiatives – should they stay or go during financial difficulty?

Feb 01 2012
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Healthy staff = healthy profits

The business case for employee wellbeing should be simple. But some argue that business leaders cannot possibly justify wellbeing related initiatives when they are making cut backs.

When an employer asked Lucy Kellaway, from the Financial Times, whether they should keep their subsidised staff canteen her answer was simple – yes. But it wasn’t so straightforward when it came to the gym membership.

She explains the benefits that a staff canteen has on a business in terms of bringing people together. But what about the other benefits associated with it?

A staff canteen not only brings people together but it means organisations can help staff achieve a balanced diet and maintain high energy. It is this that will improve performance.

Then there is the gym membership that Kellaway dismisses. It’s true that some people will value this more than others but it’s all about educating employees and giving them the tools to improve the health and energy – achieve this and productivity will improve.

So when we are asked should wellbeing initiatives be slashed during difficult economic times? In my world the answer is simple – no.

We know from our work with some of the top UK brands that a healthy workforce results in improved productivity and reduced absence. It is the forward thinking organisations, like eBay and Google, that are being proactive in their approach to employee wellbeing that will succeed.

These organisations are the innovators that are making efforts to help their staff improve their health and energy, making employee wellbeing part of their organisational culture, and in turn creating a much more resilient workforce.