Wellness In The Workplace – Employee Wellness & Organisational Wellness

Author:Ms Jennifer Cashman and Michelle Ryan
Profession:Ronan Daly Jermyn

As reported by journalist Amelia Heathman in the Evening Standard recently, anxiety is a growing issue in the UK. According to AnxietyUK, one in six adults experience some form of "neurotic health problem", with anxiety and depression being the most common. The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, mental health problems will be the leading cause of mortality globally.

Ms Heathman goes on to report that, in the London tech scene, there is a growing trend of "workplace wellness" start-ups, aiming to tackle the wider effects of stress and anxiety on the UK's working population. For instance, Spill, founded by Calvin Benton and Gavin Dhesi in 2017, which is a therapy chat app, which aims to democratise access to counselling. Companies pay to access Spill's services, and then offer it as a benefit to their employees.

In Ireland too, workplace wellness has moved centre stage with many employers introducing wellness programmes and initiatives which are designed to attract talent and also designed to proactively address absenteeism in the workplace. Employers are now releasing that adopting an integrated approach to health and well-being in the workplace may be the best way forward from a business perspective.

In terms of talent attraction, younger generations are actively looking for employers with comprehensive wellness programmes in place. The composition of the Irish workforce is changing with millennials now making up a large percentage of the working population. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Gen Z and Gen Y. More and more, these generations are researching the culture of businesses and seeking information on wellness initiatives when considering potential employers. On a national level, the Irish Government launched its 'Healthy Workplace' initiative in April of this year which aims to establish a Healthy Workplace Framework across both public and private sectors to encourage and support the development of health and wellbeing programmes in all places of employment.

In recognition of the important of this issue for employers, the RDJ Employment Team have partnered with LAYA Healthcare to run events entitled "Absenteeism and Wellness in the Workplace". The purpose of the events is to assist employers to develop a framework for managing absence and wellness in the workplace.

The question of course is how beneficial are such integrated wellness programmes from an organisational perspective? According to a 2018 Department...

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