Company overhead, profit, and workplace wellness.
We've all heard the phrase, "Time is money". I hate it. Nothing in the natural world is remotely close in value - to the value of time. There's nothing in the world that doesn't answer to time. Time always has the final 'say-so' in all situations.
But, I can say, with 100% certainty, that wellness is money. Here are a few questions you might ponder, as a business owner, small or large, as you think about overhead costs, employee efficiency, and return on investments:
1. How much does each sick day cost your business?
2. What are the reasons your employees take sick days? Are they really 'sick'? Or, are some of those days taken to get a break from a place where the work culture is very stressful and employees are 'on edge'?
3. Annually, how much money does the business recoup if each employee increases their absolute aerobic capacity by 5% per year, their muscular endurance by 5% per year, and their knowledge work efficiency by 3-5% per year?
4. Does your business have a true employee, incentive-based, didactic wellness program? Or, is the company simply providing health services (insurance and such) according to those mandated by law and a 'cool' exercise program?
5. If the business is engaged in knowledge work, are overhead costs reduced if employee workflows and deep work are improved with effective training in self-management and time management?
I think many companies forget that wellness is a holistic, all-encompassing term which traditionally includes 6 dimensions (sometimes 8, depending on who's defining it in health-related research). However, particular dimensions of wellness may be more important for one company versus another. But in the sum total of things, people and their individual wellness are almost always at the core of everything they do. Here are a few things a company might consider implementing as company policy to get the best ROI, reduce overhead, and enhance workplace culture:
1. Providing 'wellness days' to the employee.
Maybe you set up wellness days for employees, where if taken, they are required to address several dimensions of wellness during the wellness day. For example: attend a gym, see a counselor/psychologist/wellness coach, and/or visit a spa. I once worked with a research group where each employee was given a stipend to to choose a wellness service (gym membership, spa service, etc.) to attend on a regular basis. Anecdotally, those services had a wonderful impact on those employees who decided to use it!
2. Assess and track each employee's health-related fitness.
There's much research which illustrates the benefits of sustained cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and maintaining a healthy body composition. I would almost guarantee that a company who's employees 'remain fit' will almost always perform better (in most types of work) than employees who don't remain fit. And I would almost garuntee that companies would significantly reduce employee overhead costs.
3. Track time management and provide time for deep work (for companies who engage knowledge work)
It's no surprise that our privileged American society has lost the ability to focus. We've given ourselves up to 'dopamine' hits from Facebook, instagram, text messages, snaps, and videos. As a business leader, you cannot neglect the fact that many of your employees bring American culture into the workplace! So when they come to work, their focus will likely be at a premium. Giving employees the opportunity for trainings in knowledge work, time management, deep work, and focus will undoubtedly increase efficiency in the workplace. Maybe this means the company rolls over services to G-suite or Slack or Apple services, to calibrate calendars, task management, and workflows.
4. Build wellness into your company's mission statement.
This one may sound complex, but is really simple. If wellness is at the core of our best version of ourselves, shouldn't it be at the core of your business, if your business involves other people...?
At the end of the day, everything we do impacts our wellness and vice-versa. Work, family, culture, etc. Everything we do impacts our wellness in some way, shape of form. We fool ourselves if we think that what we ate last night for dinner isn't impacting our metabolism during work today. Though the impact may not shine like gold, it's certainly there.
So think about the wellness of your employees. It may come with some upfront costs, but the ROI for you, your employees (and their families), and your business will be well worth it.