There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the term “responsible business”. Does it represent proper CSR strategies? Employee Benefit Policies? Or just the business behaving responsibly towards staff? Well, if we go by this, corporate wellness certainly is a shining example? Perhaps not.
Corporate wellness is very different from what the world knows it to be. It is often linked to employee health promotion, which by default across all the organisations, around the globe is a mandatory corporate policy encouraging the workforce to lead healthier lives with an aim of benefitting the society. However, corporate wellness primarily focuses on reducing worker illness, not for the benefit of society, but for the business itself. Let us lead you with an example –
Corporate wellness aims to reduce employee absenteeism, motivating employees to be healthier and thereby more adept in contributing more at work. As a matter of fact, employee illness can incur huge costs to businesses in the United Kingdom.
According to the office for national Statistics, close to 137 million working days were cannibalised by illness in the year 2016 (4.3 days per worker), with a total incurred cost of a ballpark £18 Billion to productivity. Therefore, organisations should take up the responsibility of keeping their workforce from falling sick, and make diligent investments towards the cause right? After all, it not only benefits the workforce but the business as well.
However, these initiatives come with their own set of bottlenecks. Corporate wellness initiatives, which promote healthy exercising and physical activities often lead to discrimination against those employees who are unable to do it all together, for example, disabled. Therefore, are the initiatives actually return anything on investment or promote bias amongst the employees?
In response to this, scholars have called for businesses not to invest in health initiatives, instead, they put more emphasis on establishing a healthier relationship between the employees and human resource management. By doing so, businesses can ensure that employees have all the amenities they need while at work, which is intuitive of better performance, boosted employee morale, and increased will of turning up to work even when sick.
In a nutshell, businesses can control worker absenteeism just by providing basic amenities that are required at work, for instance, an enhanced work environment, better synchronisation of tasks, effective HRM and light rejuvenation activities.