Did you know that about 90% of a business’s operating costs are typically employees? Or business healthcare costs have increased significantly in recent years? With staff as organizations’ largest expense (by far) businesses are actively seeking ways to maximize employee productivity, increase efficiency, and decrease staff-related costs – all while retaining staff.
As a result, more businesses are adopting wellness programs, implementing sustainable practices, and taking on corporate responsibility initiatives that help employees care more about their work and the place they do it. A business whose staff is healthy and happy is more productive and people are more invested in their work.
A RAND study with the U.S. Department of Labor found that health care costs are rising due to diseases and illnesses, with businesses paying a price. As a result, more businesses are adopting wellness programs in an effort to improve employees’ health and decrease costs. In RAND’s employer survey, businesses “overwhelmingly” expressed that workplace wellness programs reduce medical costs, absenteeism, and health-related productivity losses, thus increasing productivity. One analysis by the American Journal of Health Promotion of 42 corporate wellness programs found these efforts led to a 25% reduction in absenteeism and sick leave and a 25% reduction in health costs.
- Build opportunities for physical activity into the workday. (Try walking meetings!)
- Ensure that workers’ work stations are setup ergonomically.
- Provide standing workstations.
- Offer healthy food options in company-purchased meals.
- Add plants to help control humidity, clean the air, and add beauty.
- Change your air filters regularly.
- Increase ventilation rates to provide more fresh air.
- Request that custodial staff use third-party certified non-toxic cleaning products.
- Arrange office furniture to provide more people access to natural light.
- Create a wellness program.
A UCLA-led study found that employees are 16% more productive at companies that adopt green practices. A study conducted by the World Green Building Council determined that better indoor air quality can lead to a 10% improvement in productivity. Employee proximity to windows and views of nature are linked to productivity gains. On-site health and exercise amenities encourage healthier lifestyles.
Poor ventilation, pollutants in the air, temperature, humidity, lighting, noise and other factors can affect people’s comfort, health, morale, and performance. For example, if a worker is too hot or cold, it can be hard for them to focus and perform their work. Too much carbon dioxide in the air degrades cognitive ability. Indoor pollutants from furniture, paint, printers, and mold can infections, asthma, and sick building syndrome.
From wellness programs to employee health considerations to environmental characteristics and social responsibility initiatives – studies show a clear return on investment at the bottom line. There are many things businesses can do to improve internal environments and encourage healthier living, thereby increasing employee productivity and reducing employer costs.