Why is employee well-being quickly declining while chronic illness rates continue to rise? Through our research, we know that employee well-being goes beyond physical health—a more holistic state that incorporates physical wellness, cognitive support, and psychological comfort. It directly correlates to productivity, which affects an organization’s bottom line.
Well-Being Affects ROI
Chronic illness rates, often caused by stress, are a major contributor to increasing employee healthcare costs. With 80% of company expenditures on people, we should consider well-being initiatives as contributing to your ROH (Return on Humans). The average cost for employee health insurance in 2018 is $18k—and in 2025 that number will increase to $25k per person. An almost 40% cost increase over seven years is completely unsustainable in terms of managing costs against revenue growth for an organization. Wellness programs aren’t working, but you can still support the bottom line by taking a more holistic approach. It just takes a Workspace Nudge™.
Workspace Nudge Approach
Having a physical environment that promotes health could be more cost effective than traditional wellness programs. An organization can reduce future costs and minimize employee stress, time out of the office, distraction, disengagement and turnover—all it takes are some healthy nudges.
Haworth participated in a Mindshift project with Rex Miller and 30 workplace experts to explore the connection between workspace design and employee well-being that goes beyond physical health. The research was collected over two years from more than 100 large organizations, and the findings are available in a book co-authored by Rex Miller and Dr. Michael O’Neill, Haworth Sr. Global Research Strategist. It’s called The Healthy Workplace Nudge: How Healthy People, Culture, and Buildings Lead to High Performance.
Three Rules to Remember
By creating a restorative workspace and focusing on incorporating nudges into your building design, your organization can improve employee well-being and decrease healthcare costs.
Dr. O’Neill identifies three rules for nudges:
1. The nudge must be easy and cheap.
2. Nudges can be for good—or bad.
3. A nudge is not a mandate.
a. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge.
b. Banning junk food is not a nudge.