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HST Blog

May 27
Employee wellness is company wellness

​By Willemien Jansen (HST Copy and Content Editor)


Workers have been through a lot in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic created a work-from- home trend that, while it worked for some, increased isolation and made it more difficult for parents, for example, to balance their work lives and parental responsibilities. A worldwide survey done in 2020 and 2021 found that people experienced higher levels of stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression. These issues did not necessarily dissipate with the end of the pandemic. It is no wonder that workers are trying to strike a better work-life balance after the pandemic, and employers should help them to do so.

What is employee wellness?

Healthy employees lead to happy employees. Improved health leads to higher productivity, less time spent on sick leave and higher levels of motivation. According to the Department of Health, there are four pillars of employee wellness:

  1. Physical wellness
  2. Psycho-social wellness
  3. Organisational wellness
  4. Work-life balance

How can employers help staff achieve high levels of wellness?

The Health Systems Trust recently launched a series of wellness days that was successfully rolled out at the Midrand office. Employees could attend health screenings and listen to a series of talks on finance, diet and mental health. Wellness days like these go a long way to provide employees with education on their physical, financial and mental wellbeing. The company is also rolling out a hotline and suggestion/complaints box so that employees can report on various issues like bullying and other irregularities happening in the company. This transparency leads to better organisational wellness.

For the younger generations like Gen Z, work-life balance has become much more important than a big paycheck. Candidates will reject higher paying roles in favour of roles where they can achieve a better work-life balance. This generation places a higher value on a good work-life balance than settling for unhealthy work situations. They seek personal development, cherish candid conversations about mental health, and understand the significance of holistic fulfillment outside of the workplace. As this new generation comes up in the workforce, companies will be forced to rethink their mental wellness approaches.

Employees are increasingly looking for hybrid work environments that don't chain them to their desks for 8 hours a day, but allows them some freedom and flexibility to balance life and work. A study showed that 38% of organisations that participated indicated that more home/hybrid working has increased the organisation's productivity/efficiency. Only 13% of organisations indicated a decrease in productivity/efficiency.

More than pool tables and free coffee

Employee wellness is more than free coffee, fruit and fun relaxation areas. Wellbeing is not a one size fits all and evolves with your organisation. Initiatives like training and development, flexible work hours, social initiatives, company-wide meetings to build transparency, the effective use of sick days and mental health resources can all bolster productivity and create a healthier and more relaxed work environment.

For a myriad of mental health tools and resources visit Masiviwe or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group



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 Content Editor