Making Employee Wellbeing a Priority All Year Long
June 29, 2021 / Corporate Wellness
What does the word “wellbeing” mean to your organization?
When Virgin Pulse launched Employee Wellbeing Month thirteen years ago, our vision was simple: Get organizations to think about the physical health of their people. In 2008, more than sixty companies from across the U.S. and over 17,000 of their employees joined us in our inaugural Employee Wellness Month for a three-week step-based competition to raise awareness of the benefits of workplace wellness. Now, in 2021, we’ve broadened our focus to encompass physical, mental, social, financial, family, and behavioral health to help employers understand and support the full range of holistic wellbeing needs of their employees.
To say the definition of “wellbeing” has evolved since 2008 is an understatement. What was once a buzzword has earned itself a place in our daily lives. Today, wellbeing is understood as a whole-person initiative that prompts us to explore the connections between each area of wellness to paint a complete picture of health.
As our 13th annual Employee Wellbeing Month comes to a close and workplaces begin to reopen, we feel that it’s crucial to remind organizations and their people that employee wellbeing must be a year-round commitment. With the rising prevalence of mental health issues, chronic disease, employee burnout, and financial stress impacting performance and productivity, it’s time to give health and wellbeing the attention they deserve in the workplace.
Unfortunately, organizations and their leadership teams are facing their own stressors. Between developing and executing a safe return-to-workplace strategy, creating new policies and facilitating trainings related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), managing dispersed teams, and attempting to make up for financial losses, it’s easy to see why 53% of companies are not prioritizing wellbeing due to other predicaments.
However, it stands to reason that focusing on wellbeing in the workplace could actually solve many of these organizational problems. A survey conducted by MetLife in the early days of the pandemic (April 2020) found that:
- Nearly 5 in 10 employees reported that having access to employee wellbeing benefits would help them succeed in both work and life.
- More than 6 in 10 employees said access to wellbeing benefits would reduce their stress levels.
- Roughly 7 in 10 employees felt that having access to wellbeing benefits would increase loyalty to their employer.
After more than 18 months of life with COVID-19, these numbers have likely increased. The need to put wellbeing first in the workplace cannot be ignored, but it must be approachable and easily accessible for both employers and employees. The solution? A digital wellbeing ecosystem that offers a simplified yet robust health and wellbeing experience while reducing administrative burden. With a unified and personalized access-from-anywhere tool, employees will have everything they need to take charge of their wellness journey. At the same time, employers will be able to focus on immediate concerns with the confidence that their wellbeing initiatives are helping to address these same issues.