Is it workplace w**k or is there actually something to it? ‘Workplace wellness’ is any activity or policy which supports healthy behaviour in the workplace to increase health outcomes amongst employees.

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Search it online though and you will be confronted by a multitude of companies selling “systems”, “programs” and “solutions” to turn your company into the next Google Green and increase productivity by 60 trillion percent!

Like some agents do to real estate, these companies do to the concept of wellness at work – give it a terrible name. The fact is today having a ‘well’ workplace isn’t actually cutting edge, it’s becoming mainstream and in many sectors expected – by both employers and employees.

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Wellness Dividend
There are well researched links between wellness and performance or if you prefer fancy jargon, the wellness dividend. One study recently showed that for every $1 spent on wellness it created an ROI of $6.55. This was due to a decrease in sick days, lower staff turnover, higher productivity and ultimately less HR issues.

Wellness also feeds directly into the workplace culture. Organisations that embrace workplace wellness also have a very positive workplace culture and you can see quite easily how they link. Well staff are less stressed – this leads to less friction, less blame, more cooperation and a higher engagement with work.

Proof is in the research pudding
A study out of Australia asked a number of organisations to rate their workplace culture and wage satisfaction, the higher the culture score, the higher the wage satisfaction score right across the spectrum. Perhaps there is merit to this workplace wellness afterall.

The study also warned that creating workplace wellness needs to be fully inclusive and more than pointing out personal responsibility of staff (telling the big guy to go for a run or swapping all but the managers chairs for Swiss balls overnight aren’t flash ideas).

Wellness – How to
Creating environments where wellness is supported in the environment – adding healthier food into vending machines, having a stair challenge, weekly fruit drop offs, or even having that meeting outside just to mix it up. Bringing in a guest speaker to talk about something awesome and inspire, offer resilience training and make sure everyones desks are set up right so they don’t sit like Quasimodo.

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So if you have a health and safety plan what about making a health, safety and wellness one?

Workplace Wellness is a responsible thing to encourage and talk about. It’s not about supplying Swedish massages all round, it’s more about helping your team be as healthy at the end of the work day as they were at the start.