HR bears the responsibility to promote wellness initiatives and employee incentive options as a cost-effective health, wellbeing  and work-life balance that will also yield important organisational performance benefits.

HR administers benefits and work-life programs, provides benefits education and problem resolution to employees, retirees and family members and manages an wellness program to attract and retain employees, optimise health and productivity and promote a healthy and supportive work environment.

The aim is:

  1. Provide benefits administration services that meet the needs of employees, retirees and their families within budgeted constraints in order to enhance an employee’s quality of life and to help recruit and retain top employees.
  2. Offer wellness and work-life programs that improve employee health and well-being and promote a healthy work environment.

 

■   Dealing with stress

Rapid change and work overload can put employees under a great deal of stress.

50 % say they take work home at least once a week aren’t compensated for it.

In other words, millions of employees must work at home just in order to catch up. Unless the organisation develops support mechanisms to keep stress manageable, both the firm and employees may pay a heavy price.

According to estimates, stress-related ailments cost companies billions a year in increased absenteeism, loss of productivity, and the loss of talented workers.Over 50 % of employees categorise their work-related stress as high.

Many firms, including Microsoft, Sysco Food Services, Apple, IBM, General Motors, Google, Chrysler, Johnson & Johnson, Coors Brewing Co., CitiGroup Inc., Texas Instruments, and Hughes Aircraft, among others, have introduced stress-control programs in recent years.

A more recent development is for small businesses to invest in programs that promote employee wellness and mental health helping workers deal with stress and unhealthy habits. This may be a major sacrifice for these small companies on a tight budget and facing difficult economic conditions but no doubt reflects a recognition that the cost of unmanaged employee stress, anxiety, depression, and bad habits is far higher.

 

 

Here are a few examples of how HR policies can help:

As firms experience high pressure to become more productive and deal with very short product life cycles employees are working longer, harder, and faster.

As a result, the line between home and work is blurred for many employees. To deal with this phenomenon, sociologist Helen Mederer of the University of Rhode Island notes that “companies are taking the best aspects of home and incorporating them into work.”

A survey of 975 employers by consulting firm Hewitt Associates found that an increasing number of companies are providing “home at work” benefits. These include dry cleaner/laundry service, company store, take-home meals, concierge service, oil changes/autocare, hair salon, and pet care.

According to a report in the New York Times: things like nap rooms and massage recliners may sound out of place to some in a working environment.

Such perks can boost productivity when there are older workers with sore backs, or young parents with sometimes sleepless nights.

Musical performance, too, may seem at first like an unnecessary distraction. But companies trying them say that they can be done simply and inexpensively, and that they produce better morale, increased motivation and less stress.