Corporate wellness is a strategic advantage

Corporate wellness is a strategic advantageLiffy Thomas
Here is a dream situation that people may want to prevail at their workplace—Fifty percent of the smoking colleagues given up the cigarette and others may have turned their back on a sedentary lifestyle.
This need not remain a dream. It’s doable, going by a 2015 study. According to this study, over a two-year-period, Johnson and Johnson India met these two objectives. The Deloitte wellness story would encourage you further.
Through constant communication, Deloitte managed a considerable drop in the percentage of employees at risk for lifestyle diseases. Following the corporate initiative, employees at risk started managing their blood pressure better and brought their BMIs within acceptable ranges.
Corporates are increasingly offering wellness programmes for its employees, as they are beginning to see what they could do for the bottom-line.
Recently, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) released a report that justifies this approach.
According to the Assocham report titled “Corporate Wellness Programme: Benefits to Organization and Economy”, a strategically-designed corporate wellness programme can save India Inc. up to ₹2000 crore by 2018 by safeguarding employees against chronic and lifestyle diseases and reducing absenteeism.

According to the report, on an average, for every rupee spent on employee wellness, employers get ₹ 132.33 as savings on the cost of absenteeism and 6.62 back as reduced health care costs.
“When employees fall sick less often, the health quotient is up,” says S. V. Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte.
Scientific approach
In many organizations, wellness programmes are now more evolved and scientific. Companies now hire consultants to design these programmes and regularly invite specialists to help employees keep lifestyle diseases at bay.
The wellness programmes are also more holistic than before: They go beyond physical health to include employee engagement which can also affect health.
For example, Johnson & Johnson Human Performance developed what is called ‘Johnson & Johnson Energy for Performance’ (E4P) programme.
“This training programme offers the employee a personal “ultimate mission” which includes aspects of spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health. Participants in this programme are enabled to adopt and sustain healthier lifestyles. In India, over 1,500 employees have been trained through E4P,” says Indrajeet Sengupta, head of HR, Johnson & Johnson India.
Workplace workouts

A company-sponsored wellness programmes leads to savings for employees. Take the example of 30-year-old Akash Deep, a senior executive at a Chennai-based software firm. He discontinued his gym membership seven months ago to exercise along with his colleagues at work. On Wednesdays, the company has a ‘Wednesday Walk’ where employees have to complete a stipulated number of laps on the premises of the office. On Fridays, a zumba instructor is at the workplace, training employees. Besides these, there are yoga and other fitness challenges for employees to meet.
Periodic reviews
For the corporates, sustaining these wellness programmes is a challenge.
“For a wellness programme to be successful, it has to be inclusive and engaging and it has to be reinvented continually,” says Seema Padman, VP, HR, and Epsilon.

When this Bangalore-based company launched a wellness initiative with simple challenges, last year, over 50 % of its employees enrolled for it. However, when it launched another three-month challenge — ‘I am Epsilon fit’ — there was a noticeable drop in participation.
“That is when we woke up to need to evaluate our programmes from time to time. This year, we are planning to involve the family members of employees as wellness goals work best when the experience is shared,” says Seema.

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