Enhancing Employee Health Through the Workplace Wellness Model

Enhancing Employee Health Through the Workplace Wellness Model

Corporate Wellness, Corporate Fitness and Corporate Health

3 ways To maximize Your Workouts (1)

Written by: Femi V. Doyle-Marshall, NPCTC Collective Research Group2

 

 

ABSTRACT             The average workplace allocates 35-45 billable weekly hours not including overtime (In 2014, the tracked working hours were 32.69 based on the OECD). Give or take corporate culture, majority of an individual’s hours is dedicated to being in the workspace. How they perform can be closely tied to the stressors they are faced with. These may link to psychological and social causes (i.e. high demand project deadlines and expected performance), musculoskeletal stress (i.e. poor posture, mobility and movement) and/or corporate culture (i.e. normalized poor nutritional habits and lifestyle behaviors). The most valuable asset a company has is its employees. Providing access, a supportive structure and greater value to individuals on and offsite may produce the greatest results when looking to improve an organizations performance. This paper will show you how.

I.    Introduction

The average workplace allocates 35-45 billable weekly hours not including overtime (In 2014, the tracked working hours were 32.69 based on the OECD). Give or take corporate culture, majority of an individual’s time is dedicated to being in the workspace. How they perform can be closely tied to the stressors they are faced with. These may link to psychological and social causes (i.e. high demand project deadlines and expected performance), musculoskeletal stress (i.e. poor posture, mobility and movement) and/or corporate culture (i.e. normalized poor nutritional habits and lifestyle behaviors). As the most valuable asset a company has is its employees providing access, a supportive structure and greater value to individuals on and offsite may produce the greatest results when looking to improve an organizations performance.

 

II.      Employee Stress and Job Performance

In writing this paper, I asked myself what role an employer has in shaping corporate culture and improving employee health. I further delved into the logical reason why investments would be made by an organization to ensure the health of its workers. One study provided a substantial response. “Outside and work related stressors can have an immediate and long term impact on an individual’s work performance and attendance” (Stinson, 2010). From various findings, similar issues existed in a number of workplaces (i.e. hospitals, medical facilities, blue collar work sites and other traditional seated sedentary environments). Depression, anxiety, fatigue and increased heart risk are just a few individual concerns that are raised as stressors begin to rise (Field et. al., 1997). Noticeable symptoms are cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral (Stinson, 2010). Considering the real “total cost” of losing an employee, employee turnover can greatly impact the bottom line for an organization (Bersin, 2013). The global burden of burnout cost is in excess of $300 billion annually (Bretland et. al., 2015).

 

From a recent NPCTC internal study, many individuals are under mental, emotional and psychological stress in the workplace (NPCTC CRG, February 2016). The need for finding a unique structure for work life balance is growing and effective management strategies are also increasing in demand. Many employers are providing resources (i.e. subsidizing gym memberships, healthy snack offerings and stress free workspaces). Still with knowledge of this taking a layering approach may produce even greater results.

 

III.    The Workplace Wellness Model

The strategies management have in place can allow employees to overcome the hurdles that impair performance and impact health.  Workplaces that seem to have success also seem to have a holistic approach to working with employees. Their Workplace Wellness Models offer benefit plans that may link mental health, personal development, massage therapy sessions, fitness classes and social support groups together for team members (Field et. al., 1997). As mentioned earlier, for some businesses similar access to resources exist. One highly effective method shown is exercise.

 

Strength based exercise as a tool has been shown to treat many of the common challenges faced by physical and mental stress (Taylor et. al., 1985). To revamp and engage the workplace, onsite strength and health based programs can be a spark to stimulate the workforce. A 2010 study highlighted workplace physical activity interventions were able to improve employee health, reduce worksite stress and drop absenteeism (Conn et. al., 2010). Similar findings were found in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Used as an effective, engaging on site method the benefits from running similar programs are significant.

 

IV.    An Actionable Approach in Reducing Burnout

For action, cultivate culture. Forming systems from leadership, promoting health-enhancing activities, regarding physical exercise and team communication are all steps in the right direction (Pedersen et. al., 2013). Corporate leaders have the ability to transform culture. By placing employee health at the forefront, you directly impact performance and solidify a relational bond hard to be broken by opposing workplace competitors. Layering existing employee benefit programs with education, corporate fitness programs, member coaching and existing wellness packages can make a difference. To increase impact, linking individual employee solutions with group programs produce greater results (Bretland et. al., 2015).

 

V.     Conclusion and Supporting Strategies

Health can be one of the most elusive components of life. It includes mental well-being, financial security, social security and having strong enough physical capabilities to function (WHO, 1948). As employees work to produce for employers, performance may be enhanced through the implementation of effective health, strength and fitness based programs. Common concerns in the workplace include mental and physical stress. Many relating to fatigue, increased anxiety, poor posture along with breakdown and weakness of core muscle groups by low use. Employers having the Workplace Wellness Model offer benefit plans that may link mental health, personal development, massage therapy sessions, fitness classes and social support groups together for team members (Field et. al., 1997). Outsourcing these programs can allow an organization to specialize and focus on the core competencies of the business. Others desiring to increase engagement and ensure health and longevity of team members may consider this as a viable option.

 

Acknowledgment

In conducting a paper such as this, I wish to state my appreciation for the support of the many organizations that allowed me to ask a rigorous series of questions to refine the Workplace Wellness Model. The time vested in this short study, allowed me to conclude steps can be made to engage employees and ensure their mental and physical health. To the readers, I hope you find value as a researcher. We each have the ability to find new content that can impact the people we serve.

 

Contributors

First Author Femi Doyle-Marshall is the Founder & Director of Strength and Health Programming at NEWPERSONA.INFO. As a member of the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists and York University Kinesiology Alumni his brand specializes in corporate fitness solutions. You can contact him via email at fdoylemarshall (at) newpersona.info or visit them online at www.newpersona.info.

Second Author The NPCTC Collective Research Group is a collective of coaches, trainers, consultants operating under the umbrella of New Persona. Members research, write and compile information relating to health and wellness for the brand. Many posts are highlighting topics of nutrition, fitness, health and wellness. You can read more published content by New Persona on their blog at www.newpersona.info.

 

References and Other Reading

  • Stinson, A. (2010). Anxiety and Stress: How Poor Performance and Absenteeism Affect the Workplace. Boca Raton, Florida. Dissertation.com
  • Bersin, J. (2013). Employee Retention Now a Big Issue: Why the Tide has Turned. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130816200159-131079-employee-retention-now-a-big-issue-why-the-tide-has-turned
  • Stat (2016). Average annual hours actually worked per worker. Retrieved from https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS
  • Needle, R., Sallis, F. J., Taylor, C. B. (1985). The Relation of Physical Activity and Exercise to Mental Health. Centers for Disease Control, Public Health. 100(2), 195-202. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1424736/pdf/pubhealthrep00100-0085.pdf?origin
  • Brown, M. L., Conn S. V., Cooper S. P., Hafdahl, R. A., Lusk, L. S. (2009). Meta-Analysis of Workplace Physical Activity Interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37(4), 330–339. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2758638/
  • Branthwaite, A., Ross, A. (1988). Satisfaction and job stress in general practice. Oxford Journals Family Practice. 5(2), 83-93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3391360
  • Field, T., Delvecchio-Feinberg, G., Henteleff, T., Quintino, O., Wells-Keife, L. (1997). Job stress reduction therapies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 3(4), 54-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9210776
  • Bretland, R. J., & Thorsteinsson, E. B. (2015). Reducing workplace burnout: the relative benefits of cardiovascular and resistance exercise. PeerJ, 3, e891. http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.891
  • World Health Organization (WHO). (1946). Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story046/en/
  • Pedersen, M. M., Zebis, M. K., Langberg, H., Poulsen, O. M., Mortensen, O. S., Jensen, J. N., … Andersen, L. L. (2013). Influence of Self-Efficacy on Compliance to Workplace Exercise.International Journal of Behavioral Medicine,20(3), 365–370. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-012-9239-0
  • New Persona. (2016). Corporate Review of The Workplace Wellness Model. NPCTC Collective Research Group.

 

 

What are your thoughts? I welcome comments and feedback, and share your story if you have a minute. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the article be sure to contact us as well.

 

3 ways To maximize Your Workouts (1)Photos courtesy: @bitrebels.com @kissmetrics.com @pacificcross.com

 


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