Any business owner or leader knows the frustrating costs of lost productivity when workers are absent, often due to being sick. Reducing absenteeism due to illness can be one great benefit of robust employee wellness programs, but they also have the potential of boosting employee productivity – and it can be a surprisingly big impact.
The Connection Between Employee Wellness Programs and Productivity
Last year, the University of California Riverside conducted a study that found a significant correlation between employee wellness programs and higher productivity among workers. It’s a well-known fact that most workers are only truly productive for about three hours of any given work day, which feels pretty depressing to businesses. No wonder many are actively looking for ways to boost worker productivity. The good news is that the study examined a company who created an employee wellness program and saw productivity increase by a full work day per month for employees who participated – an impressive result!
It’s also worth noting that many businesses do demand a LOT of their employees. It’s tough on people when they’re expected to be “always on” in the workplace with constant emails, endless meetings, looming deadlines and more. Many people spend a majority of their lives at work, and if that time results in daily frustration, anxiety and stress, it takes a toll on both health and productivity. Employee wellness programs can take much of the edge off stressful work environments, increasing people’s satisfaction on the job and thereby making them more productive.
The Connection Between Employee Wellness Programs and Absenteeism
The link between absenteeism due to illness and employee wellness programs is more obvious than the link to productivity. If the wellness programs make workers healthier, then it’s only natural that they should take less sick time. This is well established by decades of research on employee wellness programs that have noted the following:
- Improving employee wellness behaviors: Behavior change is the key to reaping the benefits of a wellness program. The best programs are those that help people adopt and maintain healthier behaviors. Improved health behaviors lower health risks and reduces the occurrence of sickness and chronic illness. Of course, it has to be a quality program to reap the benefits. There are plenty of examples of poor programs that do not achieve the desire results.
- Lowering common health risks: Programs that focus on lowering some of the most common health risks that get people into trouble are always a good choice. And when it comes to things like elevated blood glucose, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being obese or overweight, the key behavioral changes are centered on diet and exercise.
- Reducing healthcare costs: It also goes without saying that when employee wellness programs do what they’re intended do, businesses will spend less on healthcare – and not just a little. Dozens of studies have shown that a quality wellness program will easily save a company more money than it spends on the program. There is a positive return on investment to be gained with good employee wellness programs. And the average is impressive – for every dollar spent on quality wellness programming, companies saved an average of $3.27 in healthcare costs.
When employee wellness programs achieve their objectives of improving health behaviors, reducing common health risks and helping people manage stress more effectively, the healthier participants are simply absent less. And once again this results in a positive return on investment for the wellness programs. A Harvard study showed that for every dollar spent on quality wellness programming, companies experience an average savings of $2.73 thanks to reduced absenteeism.
Is it time for your company to seriously consider more robust employee wellness programs? Part of knowing if your efforts are generating the benefits mentioned above requires effective time tracking software. The CaptureLeave system is a simple yet powerful tool for tracking and managing leave time. It’s easy-to-use but comprehensive in its functionality. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial to find out if it’s the solution your company needs!