Wellbeing specialist Dr Bridget Juniper looks at how employee wellbeing is an important factor in organisational performance and how it can be used to maximum advantage.
The phrases "employee wellbeing" or "employee wellness" are entering the business lexicon more and more. Advisers such as Buck Consultants, which regularly charts corporate wellness activity, report that workplace wellness is no longer a niche activity but something that is becoming more typical among organisations of all sizes and industries.
While this trend is to be welcomed, it is worth pausing to ask what is it that is prompting this rise in interest and whether this is a passing fad or a permanent fixture on company agendas?
The noise in the mainstream media on the topic of health and wellness has been largely generated as a consequence of government activity.
Most recently, we heard about Prime Minister David Cameron's plans for a wellbeing index, which follows hot on the heels of Dame Carol Black's seminal report Working for a healthier tomorrow - which considered the wellbeing of Britain's working-age population - and Dr Steve Boorman's review on the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce.
This push by our policymakers is in response to politicians becoming increasingly worried over the rising costs of absence and work-related ill health to the public purse.
Impact on business performance
It is this same sentiment that has spurred organisations into taking up the baton and deciding to offer various employee wellbeing programmes to support their workers.
HR and OH professionals hold that there is a clear link between the wellbeing of the workforce and organisational performance, a belief that is borne out by the Buck Consultants research confirming that the primary goals behind employee wellbeing initiatives are to improve worker productivity and to reduce presenteeism and sickness absence.