Workplace well-being of utmost importance

Workplace well-being of utmost importance

There is no denying it, the global pandemic has affected us all. Health and well-being have understandably been important talking points in recent months, particularly in the workforce. But is the world of work doing anything to enhance the health of employees?

Since April 2020, companies have had to restructure their strategies, digitise internal processes and adopt remote working practices. These changes have undoubtedly harmed motivation, productivity and mental health, which has led to soaring levels of absenteeism at a cost of
R15 billion to the economy in 2020.

With work-related stress and healthcare costs on the rise, the need for corporate wellness is more important than ever. I completely agree with Jeanne Meister, in her piece for Forbes, that “The Future of Work is Employee Well-being”.

She writes: “As remote working blurs the line between work and life, HR leaders are prioritising employee well-being and mental health. This focus on nurturing employee well-being is critical to developing workplace resilience.”

“The Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment” survey found that 68% of senior HR leaders (of which 40% were chief human resource officers) rated employee well-being and mental health as a top priority. “It’s no wonder this is a priority for HR leaders, as the corporate well-being market is now estimated to be US$20,4 billion in the US and is forecasted to grow to US$87,4 billion by 2026,” notes Meister.

“The pandemic has given employers increased visibility into the life struggles of their employees and has shifted the focus from just organisational issues to individual human life experiences. Leaders now view well-being not just as an employee benefit but as an opportunity to support employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives.”

This rings true closer to home as well, as many South African employers are recognising the benefits of investing in the well-being of their employees. One company, the wellness e-tailer Health Central, is blazing the trail in the health and wellness space by taking an interesting approach. It recently launched a shared value initiative that allows businesses to join forces to help working South Africans take care of their mental and physical health.

“Health Central is currently the only e-tailer in South Africa with a prime focus on shared value initiatives,” says general manager Daniel Nel. “This recently launched campaign sees employees from business partners receive significant discounts on all listed products while employed, as well as rebates on sales. These rebates can be put back into their organisation or donated to selected charities. We invite all companies, organisations, non-profits and government entities whose values align with ours to benefit from this campaign.”

While the brand is affiliated with organisations like the Cannabis Research Institute of South Africa (CRI) as well as JSE listed companies, Nel decided to reach out across South Africa even further. Health Central has since developed beneficial relationships with government entities like the South African Network for Women in Transport (SANWIT), and non-profit organisations like Gift of the Givers and Doctors Without Borders.

Health Central has steadily been making a name for itself in the wellness industry in South Africa. The online store has grown consistently, doubling the number of high-quality wellness products available through its e-commerce platform in less than a year, while keeping the products affordable to the average consumer.

But Nel’s eyes are set on even loftier goals. The company is expanding its network to include professionals offering expert advice in fields such as nutrition, dental hygiene, physiotherapy and fitness. These experts will get the chance to discuss health topics and provide valuable information through an upcoming social media platform, Health Central TV.

“Our mission is to become the most progressive online health and wellness e-retailer who cares about our people. Our ultimate goal is to provide free healthcare advice via technology to everyone in South Africa,” Nel says.

Workforce well-being, which is of the utmost importance, is certainly getting the attention that it deserves as the players in the world of work band together for the greater good of all. 

Published by

Jaco de Klerk

JACO DE KLERK is editor of SHEQ MANAGEMENT and assistant editor of its sister publication FOCUS on Transport and Logistics. It’s nearly a decade later, and he is still as passionate about all things SHEQ-related since his first column, Sound Off, which he wrote for this magazine as well.
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