Corporate Wellness: An integral part of workplace strategy

Automation and virtual realities are no more buzzwords that direct our work styles as much as they ease it. Today, many employees are spending more than 40 hours a week at the workplaces. Until a decade back, less than 10% of the employees checked their emails outside of office hours. Now, with the help of technology, connectivity, and smartphones more than 50% of the employees check their emails before the day finishes. With the increasing hours spent at the workplace and additional hours spent on thinking about work, health and wellness have taken a center stage in today’s corporate world. Post recognising the need for employee wellness, most of the leading companies have already moved beyond LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified office spaces and are exploring deep into the green woods of wellness. Dynamic investments in innovative workplace wellness strategies will not only influence the wellness of existing workforce, but also bring in a healthy vibrancy to attract and retain millennial talents, thus driving better business results.

With more employees making wellness a priority, owners and occupiers will have little choice to follow the suit in the coming days, and may require some additional investment. The WELL Building Standard, launched in 2014 by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is designed to measure, certify and continuously monitor virtually every aspect of the built environment that impacts human health and less tangible factors like mental well-being and comfort levels in the workplaces. Countries like Australia and China thrive as forerunners in the workplace wellness adoptions while other developed markets like Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are continuously expanding their track records on wellness strategies.

Wellness concerns are making a slow headway in India

Over the past couple of decades, corporates have been offering wellness programmes for its employees such as health checkups, dietary advice, and personalised tele-counseling sessions. Some of the companies have started facilities such as gym, play areas, and provide healthy food choices in their cafeterias. Such sprouting wellness programs are proving to be a useful device for change at work. On the other hand, Indian employees still face basic challenges beginning from inadequate restroom tissues to lack of in-door air-conditioning control. In many cases, poor maintenance of washrooms, absence of lockers in the gym, and unsuitable air-conditioning control make the workplace either too hot or cold. These challenges should be addressed by the employers with higher priorities. New technologies also play an essential role in fostering wellness in the built environment whether through control or automation of variables like lighting and temperature, monitoring of factors like air quality and energy use. Other recent tech bits like wearable, health apps, online fitness communities and knowledge portals are few technological aids that an employee can use depending upon their own interests.

Colliers research report on wellness highlights that on pursuing wellness and implementing enabling technologies, owners and occupiers will inevitably encounter challenges. Some will be physical or infrastructure-related, such as the difficulty of retrofitting an aging building, with more environmentally friendly materials while others will have more to do with financial constraints or changing mindsets like building awareness of a new fitness incentive program among employees or convincing the finance department of the organisation.

Wellness strategies can be a successful adoption only as a collaborative effort between companies and employees. It’s an unsaid rule for the employers to seek regular employee input and feedback on efforts to continuously enhance the workplace wellness commencing from the individual workstation to wherever the employee travels, thus ensuring healthy changes and future-proof work environment for coming years.


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