Willis Towers Watson’s Mike Blake looks at the role facilities managers can play in fostering a culture of worker wellbeing.

A comprehensive understanding of your employees' health and wellbeing needs will inevitably lead to a more positive culture within the business, as well as helping to motivate the workforce who are at the heart of any company.

“According to 71% of GBAS

research participants, employees largely prefer to manage health problems alone, which can lead to feelings of isolation and becoming overwhelmed.”

The employee landscape has changed, with worker wellbeing now a key business priority, and the facilities management sector has needed to move with the times.

This has been further fuelled by modern employees’ expectations, with more and more employees expecting assistance in achieving a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey (GBAS) found that two-thirds of employees generally believe their employer has an active role to play in them leading healthier lives.

The demand is there and, as FMs are generally attuned to the needs of the workforce, they are more likely to be involved in working groups who make a business case for, and introduce, wellbeing programmes.

FMs must get to know their employees in order to help build a positive culture that breeds success and lead to a happy working space.

Creating a culture of wellbeing Nearly all (97%) employers surveyed in Willis Towers Watson's Staying@Work study said they were committed to health and productivity improvement in the years ahead but 63% said they didn't have an articulated strategy in place.

With employee health risks among the foremost workplace issues faced by employers today, and the recognition that wellness programmes underpin a business’ total reward offering, organisations are waking up to the value of effective wellness strategies.

According to Sodexo, a majority (61%) of facilities managers surveyed said that employee wellbeing would have a high impact on their organisation in the coming years and claimed facilities management is helping to enhance employees’ health and wellbeing (22%).


What is clear in today's landscape is that employers are embracing the need for effective wellness strategies and FMs are expected to be more understanding of the needs of employees.

Whilst companies – and FMs – recognise the need to take action, until the health needs of the employee population are understood and a robust plan is rolled out, the company and its employees will not reap the benefits.

Employers need to actively, and accurately, collate and analyse data through a number of different means, such as absence reporting, health screenings, wearables data, and staff surveys, which will help furnish FMs with greater insights to better identify and address employee health issues and patterns of behaviour.

Identifying and anticipate trends can lead to early intervention and a healthier, more productive workforce.

Creating a business case As FMs are likely to be involved to an extent with looking after employee wellbeing, they may be required to contribute to a business case for the introduction or review of existing wellbeing programmes.

Corporate wellness programmes encourage and support employees to meet their wishes as well as fulfilling their responsibility as an employer to introduce a more positive working environment.

“Corporate wellness programmes

encourage and support employees to meet their wishes as well as

fulfilling their responsibility as an employer to introduce a more positive working environment.”

However, there is frequently a lack of clear demonstrable evidence of the returns on investment (ROI) for employee healthcare programmes – and it is particularly hard to show tangible results for programmes designed around the promotion of preventative health.

By drilling down into health-related statistics, FMs can identify patterns, such as the prevalence of absence caused by mental or musculoskeletal illnesses, and also demonstrate improvements in these key areas.

In isolation, performance improvements analysed before and after the implementation of health strategies may not tell the full story, but they can help to add weight

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