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corporate fi tness


CORPORATE OUTREACH


T


hink of corporate health and, for many, images of in-house company gyms spring to mind. In fact, corporate wellbeing


takes a variety of forms and, despite the ongoing tough economic climate, more companies than ever are investing in the health of their staff. According to a 2009 survey of more than 1.9 million employees by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a third of employers have an employee wellbeing strategy in place – a slight increase from the previous year’s figure of 30 per cent.


EMPLOYEE WELLBEING The most commonly provided employee wellbeing benefit is access to counselling services, with subsidised gym memberships and support for stopping smoking also among the most frequently offered options. “I don’t think there are many organisations left that


don’t appreciate the value of wellbeing initiatives; more and more, companies are now making this area a priority,” says Jeff Archer, director of The Tonic, which designs bespoke corporate wellness initiatives. Archer says the companies that adopt wellbeing programmes are those that understand how demanding work and life can be,


Vicky Kiernander takes a look at the world of corporate wellness and


asks if it’s a market more health club operators should be tapping into


and that want to give their employees access to simple and effective healthy living strategies that can be easily incorporated into their daily routines. “Some companies tie wellness


initiatives in with statistics such as staff absence or productivity,” he adds. “Others use wellbeing initiatives to improve ratings in staff and customer satisfaction questionnaires. Many companies also set up wellness initiatives to improve relations with staff, and as a way of developing their reputation as a great place to work.” Oliver Gray, founder of


energiseYou – a provider of workplace health and wellbeing services – says there’s a real business case for corporate wellness. The company


sponsors the wellbeing award for The Sunday Times’ ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list. “The companies that make this list really understand the business case for employee wellbeing: they have low rates of absenteeism, good employee retention and generally healthy, energised staff,” says Gray. By contrast, Gray says he has worked with companies where


staff are unhealthy. “Morale is low and they have horrendous levels of absenteeism and staff turnover,” he adds. The 2009 CIPD study found that minor illnesses such as


colds, fl u and stomach upsets are the main cause of short- term absence for workers, followed by stress, musculoskeletal conditions and back pain – most of which can be prevented to some degree by improving the health and wellbeing of workers. A holistic approach is therefore key, believes Gray, and this was one of the reasons he left his job at a national health club


Just The Tonic Corporate wellness can help reduce absenteeism, boost morale and increase employee retention 68 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital july 2010 © cybertrek 2010


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