The physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees has benefits not only for employees, but also for businesses. An employee who is physically healthy and sound of mind will take fewer sick days, and will be able to perform his or her work better than someone with poor physical and mental health. It is therefore in the interest of any business to ensure that their employees are well looked after, especially in cases where the employee doesn’t have the means to do so themselves, such as employees whose entire income goes towards rent, utilities, school fees, clothes, etc., and who cannot afford food that is part of a balanced diet. Employers can help by providing free lunch options at work that contain all the nutrients necessary for a balanced diet. Sure, this will cost the employer money, but the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
The most obvious benefit of physically healthy employees is that they will get sick less, and will therefore take fewer sick days, which improves the company’s performance. According to Occupational Care South Africa, absenteeism costs the South African economy R12 billion to R16 billion every year. The Human Capital Review thinks this number is much higher at R19 144 billion annually. This means that on any given day, approximately 15% of employees are absent from work.
It is no surprise that most employees get sick during the winter months, which is when they contract influenza or the common cold. The company can help prevent this by providing employees with lunches that will boost the employees’ immune system, specifically food rich in vitamin C.
Proper physical health not only means less absenteeism, but also increased energy levels, which benefits the company in a variety of ways. For example, energetic employees will perform their work better, which will also affect the emotional wellbeing of other employees. Working with someone who is constantly tired often negatively affects the productivity of other employees by up to 20% according to the International Labour Organisation.
Companies can also improve the physical health of employees by often hosting team-building events, such as sports days where different departments can compete against one another, which will not only improve their physical health, but also improve teamwork.
It is in any company’s best interest that its employees have good mental health, because it will help employees to think fast, adequately solve problems, and work well under pressure. Employees with poor mental health will often suffer from depressed moods, which negatively affects the morale of other employees. They are also more prone to burnout, stress, anxiety, and other states of mind that negatively affect productivity. While absenteeism costs companies a lot of money, an employee being at work but who is not working (often referred to as presenteeism) due to poor mental health can cost a company even more. According to research by Momentum Corporate, South African businesses lose up to R89 billion a year due to employees being too distracted to do their work. According to the same research, the main distractor for employees is personal issues. With good mental health, employees will be able to cope better with not only personal issues, but also issues at work. Companies can help by creating a mentally healthier work environment by, for example, praising workers who do well, teaching them stress-management techniques, not overworking employees, talking about mental illnesses such as depression, and allowing employees to take days off for mental health-related issues.
Closely tied to mental wellbeing is emotional wellbeing. Companies should ensure that their employees are happy, because a happy worker is a productive worker. Emotional wellbeing involves factors such as financial stability, family, workload, social interaction, and physical health. If companies ensure that these needs are adequately met, the employees’ emotional wellbeing will improve their mental wellbeing by preventing depression, anxiety, stress, etc.
What else can employers do?
Many employees cannot afford medical aid, so a company could get a company medical aid to ensure that employees get the help they need when they have physical or mental problems. Apart from offering employees financial stability and not overworking employees, companies could also implement an employee wellness programme to promote their employees’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This programme can involve fitness activities, community service activities, workshops on improving wellbeing, team-building activities, and, of course, offering a free lunch.
Concerning the latter, companies obviously do not want to spend too much money on free lunches, but still want their employees to get a healthy intake of all the nutrients necessary for a productive employee. Nhlayisa’s enriched products are a good choice, because not only are they very affordable, but they are also enriched with most of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. For example, B-vitamins can reduce stress, as well as increase energy levels and brain function, and all the other vitamins and minerals work in concert to ensure that your workers will do what they’re supposed to do in the most efficient way possible. Nhlayisa products are also very easy and quick to make, which is another benefit for the company, because as they say in the business world, time is money.