Subsidized medical care, provision of access to free sessions with therapists and psychologists, vaccinations in the workplace, sports vouchers, employer-paid diet catering in the office, and extra days off (e.g., for job burnout, so-called sabbaticals) – these are some examples of benefits that are now increasingly common in the workplace. Indeed, since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a much greater emphasis on employee well-being, both physical and mental.

For this reason, companies building their competitiveness towards potential candidates and those currently employed are implementing various types of health-oriented programs to show their concern for employees. Below we explain the benefits of doing so for both parties – employees and employers.

Health promotion programs – what are they?

Workplace health promotion programs are initiatives and activities employers undertake to promote employee well-being. They most often encourage people to take care of themselves with various types of benefits (as part of creating a work environment geared toward this goal) and conduct educational activities (increasing knowledge and awareness).

The activities implemented by the company are usually aimed at various areas related to the physical and mental health of employees, such as, among others, sports activities, balanced diet, stress management, education on job burnout, etc. Supporting employees in this way is expected to lead to improvements in their productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring that the company achieves better results in its quest for success.

Health promotion programs – benefits

It is characteristic of benefit offers that include various solutions to support the physical and mental well-being oso f employees so that both parties, – employees and employers – can benefit from them. Below are the top 3 benefits for each of these groups.

Benefits for the employee
  1. Improve physical and mental health
  2. Health promotion programs (including, for example, support from a psychologist, access to a sports card, or visits from a physiotherapist in the office) help employees maintain an appropriate lifestyle by promoting physical activity and a nutritious, balanced diet (and sometimes providing support for mental health, which is equally important). This translates into an overall improvement in their well-being, which has no small impact on how they carry out their duties. After all, the better their well-being, the better their attitude toward work and the quality of the tasks they perform.

  3. Support for work-life balance
  4. While the elements of health-oriented programs implemented at individual companies can vary from company to company or team to team, they often include such non-obvious elements as flexible work hours, the ability to work remotely or hybrid, quiet days during the week or on-site health care benefits. This gives employees more control over their time and allows them to better balance work responsibilities with family, social life or hobbies. Greater harmony between different spheres of life also translates into better well-being and, consequently, daily work results.

  5. More motivation to work
  6. Health-oriented programs also have a positive impact on employees’ commitment to their tasks – employees who feel supported in taking care of their health often feel more motivated to work. Solutions implemented by the company help them take up physical activity, watch a healthy diet or reduce stress, acting as a mobilizing and inspiring factor. The associated improvement in health can in turn translate into better concentration, productivity and job satisfaction.

Benefits for the employer
  1. Lower healthcare costs
  2. Improving the well-being of employees with the help of a health-oriented program implemented by the company can translate, first of all, into fewer sick leaves, which are not without impact on the functioning of the team or the company. The absence of an employee due to illness each time represents a high cost for the employer – in the area of payment of salaries and unexpected (as opposed to, for example, planned vacation) stagnation of activities.

    For this reason, every company tries to look for ways to make employees sick as little as possible, both physically (e.g., cardiovascular disease) and mentally (job burnout, depression, chronic stress, etc.). Reducing absenteeism thus translates into better business results for the employer.

  3. Positive impact on employer branding
  4. It is also important that employees – especially from the generations currently youngest in the labor market – increasingly appreciate employers who care about their well-being. This is an important factor for them when choosing a targeted workplace. Health-oriented programs can therefore be an important element of a job offer in the eyes of potential candidates, increasing a company’s competitiveness and attractiveness in the market against competitors who do not offer such benefits.

  5. Greater efficiency at work
  6. The implementation of health-oriented programs also benefits employers through the already described increase in employee efficiency and productivity. The improved physical and mental well-being of employees translates into greater energy and commitment to their work (employees work both better and faster, i.e. more efficiently), which brings better results for the company as a whole.

Benefits of health promotion programs – summary

We can conclude that the health programs implemented by companies belonging to various industries provide significant support for the physical and mental well-being of employees – and their benefits can be very significant for the company, especially in terms of reducing sickness absence and increasing individual productivity.

The issues outlined above should encourage companies to put more emphasis on physical and mental health concerns. Before implementing such solutions, however, it is worthwhile to consult with employees and ask their opinions on the options they would most like to use – this way the employer will not only improve its benefit offer but also show employees that it values their opinions on this essential topic.

Read also: Cost-effective alternatives to layoffs – 4 examples

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.