Investing in Employee Wellness Pays Off for Businesses, Gympass Report Shows
Wellness programs have become a nonnegotiable for employers, says Gympass, the largest employee well-being hub
An eye-opening report has been released by Gympass, the largest employee well-being platform, revealing the significance of workplace wellness and the benefits it can bring not just to employees, but businesses.
The study, ‘Return on Wellbeing,’ surveyed over 2,000 global HR leaders from the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Chile, and found that investments in wellness actually increase a company’s bottom line.
It’s a benefit that employees are demanding in large numbers, and Gympass recently reported it has received over 250 million check-ins to its network of partners.
Athletech News spoke to Lívia Martini, Gympass’ chief people officer, on what the findings mean for businesses across the globe, the opportunities companies have to decrease costs while ramping up productivity, the trends she sees in corporate wellness and why wellness should be a priority despite economic uncertainty.
Wellness programs pay off
Is it worthwhile to invest in workplace wellness programs? According to Gympass, the answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ with 90% of companies that measure the ROI of their wellness programs seeing a positive return.
Implementing an employee wellness program has a dual impact, decreasing cost while increasing productivity.
In terms of costs, 78% of survey respondents said their wellness program reduced health care costs, while 85% said it reduced the cost of talent recruitment, retention, and/or engagement. When it comes to increasing productivity, 100% of HR leaders surveyed said wellness programs are essential to employee satisfaction, and 85% report lower sick-day utilization.
These findings remained consistent for both large and small businesses worldwide.
Remote workers (and their employers) benefit from wellness programs
As for remote and hybrid workers, who may feel less engaged with their company due to their workplace setting, Martini says workplace wellness programs such as Gympass can make employees feel as if their company cares about their well-being. She also points out that having a program in place tends to increase employee engagement and productivity.
“I think that the effect is you are literally able to be more present,” Martini said of employees who receive a wellness program benefit.
“So you engage more with your work, both in terms of you can do things better, faster, more efficiently,” she said. “But also you have that energy to devote to your colleagues or even to just thinking about your work in a different way.”
Mental health & nutrition are the hottest corporate wellness offerings
Gympass has noticed an increased interest in mental health and wellness platforms, particularly nutrition, in the U.S. According to Martini, many wellness platform users engage in a combination of offerings, such as physical and mental apps or physical and nutrition apps.
“I do see a lot more people who are now engaged only with digital, which before was almost nonexistent,” Martini said. “So you do digital classes or personal trainers, and then you do meditation, but you never set foot in the gym anymore,” Martini said.
Martini shared that she herself uses a combination of Gympass wellness platforms. For fitness and nutrition, she uses Trainiac and her trainer will ask her to log her meals in MyFitnessPal. For mental health, she uses Headspace and Calm, and has been exploring the Sleep Cycle app. It’s a combination that works for her, although she still hits the gym.
“I think that that’s the dream — when you can have all of the options and prioritize what’s more important to you at each point in time,” she said.
Certain Gympass platforms, such as Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app, have scored big with users. MyFitnessPal and Sleep Cycle, a platform that enables users to record themselves sleeping to hear if they snore or talk, have also been popular.
Companies should keep wellness programs despite recession fears
While many industries are sounding the alarm of a looming recession and have been conducting layoffs, Martini says well-being programs have such a profound impact on ROI that forward-thinking companies aren’t looking to cut costs when it comes to their wellness programs.
For those who may be reluctant, Martini looks to the numerous studies Gympass has conducted with companies that have demonstrated significant reductions in health care costs, improved engagement and better retention as a result of their wellness programs.
It’s also easier to attract worthwhile employees if a company offers workplace wellness benefits.
“Companies should be able to put a price on this and then decide whether it’s a priority or not,” said Martini. “But for the cost of a program such as Gympass, which is very, very low cost in comparison to other benefits, and if you think about how much it will cost to invest in something like Gympass versus anything else — for that amount of money, the ROI is positive,” she explains.
She added that the return is shown not just in financials, but in a reduction in health care costs, prevention of diseases that can cost companies absenteeism and sick days.
Going back to the stats from earlier, 78% of survey respondents say their wellness program reduced health care costs, and 85% reported it reduced the cost of talent recruitment, retention, and/or engagement, and 85% report lower sick-day utilization.
“All of that is actually money in the door,” Martini points out.
Investment in wellbeing is becoming mandatory
The pandemic amplified the need for employers to provide workplace wellness benefits to their employees, says Martini.
“Since the pandemic, investment in well-being and particularly in anything that improves mental health is no longer an option,” she says. “Everybody needs it and companies are seeing the impact of it.”
Martini points to a stat which revealed that four out of five employees said they would consider leaving a company that doesn’t focus on staff wellness and 85% percent said they’d be more likely to keep their current job if their employer placed more emphasis on well-being.
“The good news is that companies have to do this, but it’s also extremely good for the company,” Martini said. “It makes business sense to invest in something like this.”
Gympass’ full study, ‘Return on Wellbeing,’ can be found here.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.