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Wellness has risen from an afterthought in companies to a prominent issue. Businesses increasingly recognize the impact of physical and mental health in the workplace. An opportunity loss of $20 million for every 10,000 workers can be attributed to low well-being and its negative impact on performance. This amounts to a staggering global cost of up to $322 billion in employee turnover and diminished productivity as a result of burnout caused by low well-being. On the other hand, effective wellness programs leave employees seven times as likely to strongly agree that they have meaningful connections or a best friend at work, a key indicator of engagement. Mental wellness is also getting more attention as companies see the consequences of depression, stress, anxiety, and other symptoms in the workplace. Only 57 percent of employees who report moderate depression and 40 percent of those who report severe depression receive treatment to control depression symptoms. Even when programs are available, employees don’t avail themselves of them. Only about 3.5 percent of employees across the U.S. have taken advantage of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to which they have access.
Clearly, there is plenty in the wellness space for internal communicators to address, both in terms of raising awareness and moving the culture among employees as well as counseling leaders on the actions they should take through their own messages and the degree of support they offer for wellness programs.
On Thursday, May 18, four IABC Fellows gathered to discuss workplace wellness.
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