In today’s employment market, employers can no longer rely on attractive salaries to entice potential employees, nor can they rely on such salaries to retain existing employees. The challenge for the present day employers is to find innovative ways of offering additional benefits that are perceived to be beneficial to the welfare of their staff.
Health issues in the workplace
It is estimated that illness at work costs UK employers a staggering £12 billion a year when you calculate the total number of sick days that are taken by employees.
There are many reasons why someone might experience ill-health and whatever the cause, it is obviously in the interest of the company to support an employee and help them to return to work as soon as possible.
Health issues do not just affect the individual concerned but it can also have a detrimental impact of the workforce in general unless there are policies and practices in place to deal with the relevant issues raised.
A healthy workforce is very often a productive workforce so it makes sense to encourage employees to stay fit and healthy by taking up an offer of free or subsidised gym membership.
An employee assistance programme is now a standard part of the overall package offered by many forward-thinking employers and they found that their employees ranked gym membership as one of the most desirable benefits to be offered by their employer.
Making cheaper gym membership at corporate rates available to employees was found to make a positive contribution towards greater staff motivation, a reduction in absenteeism and resulted in healthier employees compared to before the benefit was available.
Causes of ill-health in the workplace
Taking a pro-active approach to health management for employees often helps to avoid creating an environment that can cause or trigger ill-health in the first place.
There are a number of health conditions that can be attributed or associated with the workplace which will only become more exacerbated if there is not a programme in place to provide assistance to employees that need it.
Work-related stress is generally an adverse reaction caused by someone feeling that they have had excessive pressure or demands place on them that they feel unable to cope with without the right amount of support.
Stress is one of the major causes of ill-health in the workplace and accounts for an estimated one in three of all incidences of ill-health in the workplace, so it makes sense for an employer to provide access to occupational services and offer facilities such as gym membership so that a person that feels stressed can get help at an early stage and enjoy recreational activities that will help them to cope better with the pressures of work.
Having an employee assistance programme in place that includes a range of services and facilities designed to support staff will benefit employer and employees alike and research has shown that healthy staff are likely to be more motivated.
Operating an effective absence management policy and providing access and promoting improved health in the workforce has been shown to reduce absenteeism, so when you think of the amount lost on sick days, it makes sound business sense to look after the health of employees in every way possible.
George McKenzie has extensive experience in recruitment. He frequently writes about his experiences managing productive and satisfied employees.