The world has evolved over the last few years. 

We can all understand why – the world experienced a joint-mass crisis. Something every one of us were touched by. Of course, we’re talking about the Pandemic. Something that seems almost too long ago to remember firsthand and yet, when we look back on it, it seems all too familiar to ignore. 

And because of the pandemic, the world changed. People changed. Employees most certainly changed. 

Employees realized the value that they bring to the table. They realized that “life is short, you best be doing exactly what makes you happy”.  They realized what’s important for them going forward. And that didn’t always include just a steady paycheck.

Employees look for more nowadays – like wellness programs, mental health awareness, upskilling, and flexibility. Gone are the days when employers can demand overtime or scream and shout at their employees. The risk of losing valuable employees – and skills – has become all too real. The “great resignation” springs to mind. 

As Forbes sets out – 

“Employees realized their worth, and there has been a huge transformation in mindset; many employees are speaking up more about the issues that matter most to them. They are being clear about their needs and wants. If their current employer doesn’t meet those needs, they are finding a new one that does”.

Perhaps now in 2024, what happened because of the pandemic is already old news. But how we got to this place where employees expect more from their employers had a starting point that’s worth acknowledging. Because there is a lesson to learn here and we all should have learnt it by now. 

The thing is, not all corporates have taken heed. Not all employers have taken corporate wellness seriously. Not all businesses are learning from what the past has taught us. And that’s got to change. Lip service is no longer sufficient. Action needs to be taken. 

Perhaps we need to start from the beginning – first things first. 

What is Corporate Wellness?

When we think of wellness, we imagine healthy minds and healthy bodies full of vitality. And that’s not far off from the accepted definitions of wellness. Pfizer defines wellness as – 

“Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving”.

According to Wellspace, corporate wellness can be thought of as follows – 

“Wellness covers physical and mental fitness. Over the past 30 or so years, it has grown as a concept in the workplace. It focuses on helping employees influence their own health, quality of life, mental wellbeing and, consequently, their performance at work.

As such, employee wellness looks not just at reducing absence from work through illness, but also at how to proactively encourage and promote healthier lifestyles and attitudes.

 Employee wellness looks at the individual and encourages them to make healthy lifestyle choices. The purpose of this is to benefit them and the culture in which they work”.

Wellness – whether in the corporate environment or at home – involves the good health of both body and mind. It’s about more than just surviving, it’s about thriving. 

What that looks like depends on what corporate wellness programs are put in place.

Corporate Wellness Programs

Corporate wellness programs – according to Wellsteps – is

“any worksite activity designed to support better employee health. These activities often include medical screenings, incentives for healthy behaviours, behaviour change interventions, health coaching, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss programs, social support, gamified wellness challenges and much more.”

And employers should care about employee wellbeing and corporate wellness because the costs to business of absenteeism and stress are considerable. And the benefits of attracting and retaining talent, while also improving productivity, are clear as day. A happier, more well-adjusted team is a more productive team. And that should read – increased working capacity means increased income and return on investment. 

Ok, so now that we know what corporate wellness refers to and have discussed the general need for corporate wellness to be put in place, you may be wondering what some of the benefits of incorporating corporate wellness programs may be –

Increased productivity –we have alluded to this already but having employees that eat well, employees that talk about their mental health issues and who put physical activity top of their list are likely to be more productive than those employees that don’t. Poor health behaviours lead to higher health risks and chronic diseases. And that equates to absenteeism. Something a thriving business can ill afford.  
Improved employee morale – by investing in the wellness of your employees you make them feel valued and appreciated. An employee that feels valued is more likely to be enthusiastic, is more likely to put in the work required. Is more likely to excel. And an employee that excels in what they do will have a knock-on effect, which is – as we may already know – an increase in productivity and overall performance. And that friends, means increased profits.
Retention of employees – we all know that recruiting new employees is more expensive than retaining current employees. So, retention of employees and their skills should be top priority. Nowadays with employees expecting improved working environments and employers that offer wellness programs, offering an extensive corporate wellness program, will not only help with the retention of employees but may contribute to the attraction of world-class talent, whose skills you should be keen to grab ahold of. Well thought out and implemented corporate wellness programs can be an incredibly attractive attribute for any employer. 
Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism – it stands to reason that extensive corporate wellness programs will see a decrease in absenteeism as the logical assumption is that with less sickness, less stress, less anxiety – there should be increased attendance at the office (and work from home individuals, less days away from the computer). However, reduced absenteeism is only one part of the problem. Remember that just because an employee is at the office or is online, doesn’t mean they are really present. It doesn’t mean that they are participating, doesn’t mean that they are fully engaged. In the article Why Is Employee Wellness Important?, the following was set out – “The president of the CIPD, Professor Gary Cooper, has warned that the statistics for sickness absence may in fact be telling a different story. The suggestion is that increasingly, people are at work when they should be recovering at home. Presenteeism is where employees are present, but their motivation, and productivity, take a significant dip. There is also a risk that employers have helped encourage this situation by creating a culture of fear, where taking time off is looked down on. Both absenteeism and presenteeism are costly in both business and personal terms. This is where employee wellness has a vital part to play. Helping people become more aware of their own physical and mental health, can motivate them to be more mindful of it and to make key, positive lifestyle changes”.
Reduced health risks – by promoting a healthier environment in the office, the hope is that a healthier lifestyle will be embraced at home. And that will naturally lead to a healthier mind and body of each employee leading to a reduction of avoidable health risks and may even prevent or at least address chronic illnesses. Low health risks lead to reduced health care costs.
Building happy teams – this may not be as obvious as some of the other benefits. However, it’s still important. By having wellness programs in place, an additional advantage is the promotion of happy teams. The interaction between colleagues – whether it be going to the gym together, joining a corporate sports team or openly sharing struggles, encourages bonding. And a bonded team leads to a well-oiled, coherent, team. And well, happy teams are supportive and productive teams. It just makes sense.
At the end of the day, the point of corporate wellness programs is to do away with (or at least limit) – unhappy employees that tend to work less, that see see fewer reasons to be loyal to the company and no longer see a salary as a valuable return, if the sacrifice is their mental health.

How can one incorporate corporate wellness programs into their business?

Gallup sets out as follows – 

“Employers who care for employee health and wellbeing see numerous measurable benefits, from higher productivity and profitability to lower turnover and fewer safety incidents.

Well-designed and research-informed wellbeing initiatives and strategies provide all-important organizational resilience and remove risk from organizations.


In fact, employees who strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing, compared with other employees, are:

  • 69% less likely to actively search for a new job.
  • 71% less likely to report experiencing a lot of burnouts.
  • 36% more likely to be thriving in their overall lives.
  • 3 times more likely to be engaged at work.
  • 5 times more likely to strongly advocate for their company as a place to work and to strongly agree they trust the leadership of their organization”.
So how does one implement corporate wellness programs into practice?

First of all, it’s important that businesses realise the importance of soft skills. Soft skills are more essential than ever to support the ongoing health, wellness and success of your teams and business. Then –

Set goals for both team and business – when creating a wellness program, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your main objective. Ensure that all parts of the program provide benefits for both the staff and the company. It’s crucial that wellness programs cater to the audience of your employees (CFI).
Set up a dedicated team – an extensive corporate wellness program doesn’t arrive in a day. It involves the involvement of different stakeholders within the company. It also takes time. By forming a team dedicated to the corporate wellness program you ensure that there is a real interest in the promotion of a healthy workplace.
Get in touch with external service providers – here its crucial that you shop around for the service provider that provides you with the most benefits.  Partner with your service provider to see what resources and programs may be at your employees’ fingertips or what may be available for a small investment. In this regard Frieda Levycky of Braving Boundaries is perfectly poised to offer your teams one on one coaching, creative workshops for corporates and Enneagram Team Sessions – all of which will benefit your team members.
Communicate with employees – communication is always key when implementing anything that has something to do with employees. The wellness program should be communicated to employees. They should be able to understand the schemes that are involved, the importance of wellness, and the positive effect it will have on their lives (CFI).
Feedback – an extensive corporate wellness program will ensure that feedback from employees is considered in a way that benefits the program. The corporate wellness program must be adaptable enough to incorporate ideas and feedback from employees and continuously improve on the program.

Corporate Wellness: Next Steps

Corporate wellness and the programs that promote healthier bodies and minds of employees are win-win for employers. By investing in their employees, companies ensure improved morale, increased productivity and output and happier teams working cohesively together. And with benefits like that, it makes one wonder why every business in the world hasn’t at least considered it. 

Download the new Braving Boundaries Corporate Wellness Brochure.

About the Author, Alicia Koch, Founder of The Legal Belletrist. Alicia, an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE, and now a legal writer and researcher, has established The Legal Belletrist to assist companies (in different sectors) to write well-researched articles that speak to each company’s core business, enabling growth and commercialism.

Click here to visit The Legal Belletrist website. Email: alicia@thebelletrist.com