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Wellness at Work, what to expect?

Wellness at work, why does it matter?

It could become a place or activity where people go not only to make a living, but also to seek their own personal wellness. This research paper looks into what at the future of work might look like and make a case for necessity of wellness. We will also investigate how some companies are becoming leaders in wellness and offering their employees world-class wellness programmes.

Now to ask why does wellness matter? The workforce across the globe, are increasingly becoming unwell. Over 3.2 billion of the world’s 7.3 billion people go to work each day (1). In a person’s lifetime, the average person will spend at least 90,000 hours working (2). Of these workers, many face challenges as shown in the infographic below;

The evolution and challenges of ‘Wellness at Work’

A 2010 Harvard Business Review study defined workplace wellness as: “an organised, employer sponsored program that is designed to support employees (and, sometimes, their families) as they adopt and sustain behaviours that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organisation’s bottom line.” (3). These workplace wellness programmes however, only address a minute percentage of the total global workforce. Employees are increasingly becoming more stressed, more unwell and disengaged in work. Billions of employees have little access to basic healthcare facilities and essential medications. Their living wage is small and working conditions can be unsafe and unhealthy. According to the Global Wellness Institute, less than 9 percent of the world’s 3.2 billion workers are likely to have access to any type of wellness programmes. Please see the below geographical graph for reference.

Many companies are now seeing the necessity of have wellness programmes for their workers. They are addressing multiple aspects of an individual’s wellness. This can include both physical and mental health and work-life balance to fair wages, the organisation of work itself, and the alignment of work with employees intrinsic motivations. Companies such as Netflix, Grant Thornton and Virgin offer unlimited vacation days to their staff who are on a salary (4).

Reference List

(1) International Labour Organization (2015). World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2015 – Supporting Data Sets [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/weso/2015/lang–en/index.htm.

(2) Pryce-Jones, J. (2010). Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

(3) Berry L.L., Mirabito, A.M., and Baun, W.B. (2010, December). What’s the hard return on employee wellness programs? Harvard Business Review, 88(12), 104-112. https://hbr.org/2010/12/whats-the-hard-return-on-employee-wellness-programs.

(4) Green, J. (2015, September 30). Grant Thornton plans to offer unlimited vacation. Bloomberg Business. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/ articles/2015-09-30/grant-thornton-plans-to-offer-unlimited-vacation-days-in-u-s-.

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