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The Importance of Wellness at Work

The Importance of Wellness at Work

The Importance of Wellness at Work

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Work-life balance often feels unattainable amidst soaring productivity demands. Hence, the significance of workplace wellness cannot be overstated. So let's explore the importance of wellness at work and the potential consequences of neglecting it.

Taking care of ourselves and taking breaks from the constant cycle of productivity is crucial for our overall well-being and long-term success. We can sometimes forget that.

It's easy to get caught up in the belief that constant productivity is the only path to progress, but in reality, stepping back and recharging is essential for maintaining employee health and productivity, and achieving sustainable growth.

So what is wellness and what can happen when we neglect wellness at the workplace? What are the costs associated with pushing staff and even ourselves to the limits of overall health? Let’s take a look.

Work Wellness Defined

When we talk about wellness, we mean the state of overall well-being encompassing physical, mental, and emotional health. What constitutes wellness can be different things to different people. But generally, the concept goes beyond the absence of illness and incorporates aspects such as balance, vitality, the lack of stress, and a sense of fulfillment in various areas of life.

When it comes to the workplace, wellness refers to creating a company culture that promotes the health and well-being of employees. It involves fostering a culture that supports physical fitness, mental resilience, and emotional well-being. Workplace wellness initiatives may include wellness programs and policies that address areas such as stress management, work-life balance, physical activity, mental health support, and opportunities for personal growth.

The Cost of Burnout

Burnout is the lack of a healthy lifestyle. Burnout means chronic physical and emotional exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress and overwork.

According to a survey conducted by the McKinsey Health Institute, approximately 25% of employees, based on data from nearly 15,000 workers across 15 countries, report experiencing symptoms of burnout on average.

While officially it is not classed as a medical condition, the World Health Organization labels it an “occupational phenomenon” or syndrome consisting of a collection of symptoms. The impact of burnout extends beyond the toll it takes on individuals and can impact organizations and societies at large.

It can lead to several nasty outcomes for staff members and indeed any company it takes hold in. Furthermore, burnout contributes to greater healthcare costs, as individuals experiencing burnout are more prone to physical and mental health issues.

Here’s why we need to cut out burnout from the work culture and prioritize wellness and people over graphs and numbers..

Personal Health

Before we get to how burnout impacts companies or businesses, let’s be clear; burnout harms people first. It negatively affects your friends, family, colleagues, and society at large. While we can sometimes get wrapped up in meeting KPIs, achieving goals, and making the linear graph go up instead of down, it’s important to remember that there are people on the other side of the workflow.

In a speech to the Think-Tank for Action on Social Change recently, Irish President Michael D Higgins spoke about the world’s “obsession” with economic growth. He was pointing out its negative impact on the environment and social issues. This principle also holds true within the context of a company, where an overemphasis on productivity often leads to diminished benefits for employees and ultimately the structure of a business.

Decreased Productivity
The cost of employee burnout can actually result in dwindling productivity. Exhausted and overwhelmed employees struggle to maintain focus and perform at their best. They often experience reduced motivation, lack of creativity, and lower work quality.

In a screening analysis by Deloitte, 91 percent of survey respondents said having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work. Some 83 percent of the respondents also said burnout from work negatively impacted their personal relationships.

Increased Employee Turnover

The financial costs associated with turnover are commonly mentioned in human resources and management literature. The exact figures may vary depending on the industry. However, in 2019, Forbes reported that 46% of HR leaders believe employee burnout is responsible for up to half of annual workforce turnover.


When individuals are not well physically, mentally, or emotionally, they may experience difficulties in functioning optimally and may be more prone to absences. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety at a cost of US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity. The bottom line here is that healthy employees mean a healthier business.

Employee burnout.

Impact on Team Morale

When stress gets too much team morale can really nosedive. Where before people were chatty and happy to dig deep to complete special projects, continuous periods of stress or overwork can change the mood within a company.

That’s because tiredness, especially emotional exhaustion, can lead to higher levels of cynicism and depersonalization. It’s not good for individual employees and it certainly doesn’t work for team collaboration on-site or even when working remotely.

Increased Workplace Accidents and Errors

When employees are exhausted or mentally drained due to burnout, their ability to focus and perform tasks with precision diminishes. In turn, this can lead to an increased risk of workplace accidents and errors. Fatigued team members may overlook important safety protocols, make critical mistakes, or experience lapses in judgment. The cost of workplace accidents includes medical or health insurance expenses, potential legal liabilities, and damage to equipment or property.

Damage to Employer Reputation

As we can see, the absence of wellness and the increase of burnout within a company can have numerous negative impacts. These can ultimately end up affecting both the company and its employer brand. For example, if a company neglects employee wellness and allows a toxic work culture to develop, it is highly probable that individuals will be reluctant to work there. Potential clients or customers may also steer clear.

Benefits of Employee Wellness

Employee wellness programs have emerged as an indispensable aspect of modern workplace culture, offering a range of benefits that prioritize employee well-being and address health risks, particularly in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

These programs can take a holistic approach, aiming to improve physical, mental, and emotional health while fostering a positive work environment. By proactively investing in employee wellness, organizations can cultivate a healthier, happier workforce, boost productivity, reduce absenteeism, and enhance employee engagement and retention. Let’s take a look at the overall benefits and perks of employee wellness.

Boosts Physical Health

Workplace wellness programs  can play a significant role in boosting physical health among staff members. Fitness classes offered as part of a corporate wellness program or gym memberships provide employees with an opportunity to engage in regular exercise.

As we well know, regular physical activity has numerous benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscular strength, enhanced flexibility, and weight management. Workout sessions can serve as an outlet for employees to relieve stress, increase endorphin levels, and enhance mood during or after work hours.

Enhanced Mental Health

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and employee wellness programs or activities play a vital role in supporting it.

Initiatives like stress management workshops, mindfulness sessions, group activities, and counseling services can help employees cope with work-related pressures and wellness challenges.

Organizations should seek to create a supportive environment that reduces problems associated with poor mental health.

Stronger Talent Pull

A positive workplace environment and culture play a crucial role in attracting and retaining talent. When a company fosters a healthy and supportive workplace culture, it sends a strong message to potential employees that their well-being and professional growth will be valued.

That's probably why companies with established wellness programs, such as Google, often rank among the most sought-after companies by job seekers and employees.

Increased Employee Retention

Wellness at work plays a crucial role in increasing employee retention within an organization. When employees feel valued and supported in their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, they are more likely to remain committed to their jobs.

When individuals feel their needs are met and their health is prioritized, they are more inclined to stay with an organization for the long term, contributing to increased employee retention. Free health initiatives or wellness activities are great incentives to stay with an employer.

Improved Productivity

When employees are physically and mentally healthy, they are more focused, energized, and motivated to perform their best. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and stress reduction techniques promoted by company wellness programs can contribute to higher energy levels and improved concentration.

In 2021 a Statista survey appeared to back up that wellness works, too. Some 75-79% of respondents routinely agreed over a three-year period that wellness programs help them to be as productive as possible.

Better Work-Life Balance

The knock-on effect of making employee wellness a priority is that it usually leads to a better work-life balance for staff. Sure it’s important to be productive at work but there is a world outside the confines of the office walls and Slack messenger. Time away from work allows us to spend time with loved ones, indulge our hobbies and passions and ultimately, bring our best selves to work. Let’s not forget that.

Work Wellness Hacks

Of course, not all wellness initiatives or suggestions will work for everyone. Companies may want to take a mix-and-match approach when creating a wellness program. There may be other hobbies and activities that bring positive vibes, and health benefits during work.

That said, we’ve put together a list of fun ideas put forward by the staff here at flair.

Let's delve into several workplace health strategies or techniques that you can explore as an employee or, if you're an employer, contemplate encouraging or suggesting. It's worth noting that most of these practices can be easily incorporated into your work routine, whether you're at the office or working remotely.

Desk Yoga

Introduce mini yoga sessions into your workday to stretch and destress. Simple stretches, such as neck rolls, shoulder stretches, and seated twists, can be done right at your desk, promoting relaxation and improving focus.

Nature Breaks

Take regular breaks to connect with nature. Step outside for a few minutes and soak up the sunlight and fresh air. Nature breaks can enhance creativity, reduce mental fatigue, and increase overall well-being.

Walking Meetings

Instead of sitting in a stuffy meeting room, consider taking your meetings outdoors. Walking meetings not only allow you to get some exercise but also boost creativity and productivity by encouraging fresh perspectives and increased blood flow to the brain.

Breathing Exercises

Incorporate mindful breathing exercises into your daily routine. Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or box breathing, can help reduce stress, enhance focus, and increase energy levels.

Healthy Snacks

Fuel your body and mind with healthy food and snacks. These snacks, such as a fruit basket, provide sustained energy and prevent the mid-afternoon energy slump.

Workspace Plants

Bring some greenery into your workspace by adding plants. Indoor plants not only improve air quality but also create a calming and pleasant environment, reducing stress and boosting mood and productivity.

In 2019, researchers from the University of Hyogo in Japan explored the impact of tending to a plant while at work. Some 27% of participants found that engaging with a desk plant lowered their pulse – an indication of calming or sedation.

Gratitude Journaling

Cultivate a positive mindset by practicing gratitude journaling. Take a few minutes each day to jot down things you are grateful for. This simple practice may enhance your overall well-being, increase optimism, and foster a positive work environment. A nice journal can also make a nice addition to employee onboarding packs, too.

Office Meditation

There is evidence to suggest that practicing mindfulness can reduce blood pressure and also contribute to a better quality of sleep. Let’s face it, sometimes we all just need to walk away from the laptop or whatever work we are doing and take a deep breath. Try it out. Take part in short meditation sessions to promote relaxation and mental clarity. There are a number of apps that can help you on your journey, such as Headspace, the Mindfulness App, and Calm.

We hope you find these practical tips helpful in your own workplace. For more HR and workplace-focused articles, check out the flair blog page here.


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