Study Says: Workplace Wellness Programs Do Not Increase Productivity. So What Does?

woman relaxing at her office

In recent years, more and more companies have created and implemented wellness programs in the workplace. The $8 billion workplace wellness industry not only aims to promote health, but also to reduce health care costs, improve the workplace environment, and increase employee productivity.

The results of a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association put a lid on these touted benefits. According to researchers from the University of Chicago and Harvard, workplace wellness programs offer no significant effect on the health of employees or companies’ healthcare spending and utilization.

If wellness programs are not effective in promoting health and productivity in the workplace, then what is?

It All Starts With Employee Engagement

Gallup reports that although employee engagement is on the rise in the U.S., it’s only still a fraction at 34 percent of the workforce. When employees are disengaged, they have higher rates of absenteeism and turnover. As a result, they drag the company’s productivity and profit down.

Equip Employees with the Right Tools

Employees with the right tools and equipment can perform their duties more efficiently. Just imagine the amount of time wasted when, for example, your employee is working on a PowerPoint presentation on an old and slow laptop.

Apart from physical equipment, training is another tool that’s crucial to ensuring the productivity of your employees. By developing the skills of your workforce, you improve the quality of their output, which will likely lead to fewer errors and more streamlined business processes.

Improve Workplace Conditions

Apart from having reliable equipment, there’s nothing better than working in a comfortable space. Your employees won’t be productive if their bodies are freezing from cold or sweating from the heat, if the lights in their area are dim, or if their chairs aren’t comfortable.

In these conditions, they’ll spend more time finding ways to be more comfortable than actually working and being productive.

To resolve this problem, make sure that the work environment is always comfortable for your employees.

Ideal working temperatures range from 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Natural light is best for workers, so floor-to-ceiling windows are ideal. If these aren’t possible, choose lights that emit a warm and bright glow instead of an intense glare. And finally, invest in some quality, comfortable office furniture for your Salt Lake City workplace.

Positive Reinforcement is Key

boss and employee

The act of praising or rewarding your employees after a job well done is called positive reinforcement. It’s a mix of saying “job well done” and “keep up the good work,” meaning you’re not only acknowledging their hard work but also asking them to keep doing what they’ve been doing. But instead of them being a slave to their work, they’re actually doing their tasks because it makes them feel good.

With your praise and a reward—a paid holiday, a gift card, a special meal out, or something similar—to look forward to, their confidence in the work that they’re doing goes up. In turn, they are likely to work just as hard or maybe even harder because they look forward to being acknowledged again as well as develop a sense of pride in their work.

Productivity means profit in business. You increase the former, you increase the latter. So, it’s only smart for business owners or managers to be relentless in their pursuit of ways to increase employee productivity.

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