Does employee wellness matter?

Does employee wellness matter?

Employees spend between 40 – 60 hours a week at work. Some, take their tea and lunch breaks but others opt to eat at their desks. As time seems to fly by, we are left grabbing a quick meal or snack so that we can meet our deadlines. This Corporate Wellness Week (2 to 6 July), we need to look at how we as corporates are actually allowing our staff to have access to healthier alternatives as part of their lunch options. Employees may not think about it, but, as ADSA spokesperson and Registered Dietitian, Lerato Radebe pointed out: “Wellness in the workplace is not only a means to keep employees happy, but has tremendous effects on absenteeism, presenteeism and productivity.”

Nathalie Mat, another Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, advised that, “Nutrition is one of the easiest modifiable factors that controls a person’s energy levels and productivity. A company’s culture can perpetuate or inhibit healthy eating. I have experience of many companies where health is still not prioritised, leading to poor nutrition and health overall.”

Lerato further explains that, “Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. WHO, the World Health Organisation, describes it as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

So, what can South African business do to promote a sustainable culture of wellness in the workplace?

As nutrition is at the centre of wellness, below are some guidelines that ADSA experts offer:

  • Create and maintain wellness awareness programmes through advocacy, engaging a Dietitian and other wellness professionals.
  • Generate interest in employee wellness programmes (EWP)  by adding value and that inspires employees to make lifestyle changes;
  • Give rebates on health insurance by  rewarding employees that participate in EWP;
  • Have healthy options accessible  and change to healthier options in the canteen, ditch the biscuits and muffins for meeting and replace with bowls of fresh fruit and ultimately make water the primary drink of choice;
  • Encourage line managers to discuss health with their teams and bring in professional dieticians for staff that ask for assistance.

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