Improving Workers’ Wellbeing and Health: A new competitive advantage
Updated: Nov 3
Businesses are always looking for a way to improve and gain a competitive edge. Usually, this is done through optimizing operations or cutting costs.
Recently, a new trend has emerged for businesses to get ahead: by prioritizing and improving the health and well-being of their workforce.
Businesses are now being introduced to the concept of wellness strategies as a means of boosting their investment returns.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact, the links between population health and the economy have never been so clear. Once considered the invisible H in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, health is now the pivotal piece that underpins all of ESG, and it will play a key role in how companies and shareholders assess where to invest in the years to come. From where we stand, the future of investing is investing for health.
By focusing on wellness and health through Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, organizations are aiming to boost their productivity and ultimately transform the market.
ESG factors are integral to calculate company’s overall profile and performance. In previous years, investment analysts considered an organization’s set of social values, but now ESG factors are considered to be a measurable manifestation of those values that are comparable to peers.
Deutsche Bank estimated that from 2014-2017 over 21 trillion USD has been invested worldwide in ESG strategies as a way to minimize any environmental risks posed to organizations, which includes employee turnover costs.
The Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation is a prime example of how organizations are funding wellbeing efforts while considering ESG factors for their investment decisions.
Employees’ environmental and living conditions have an impact on the organization, thus these areas become economic factors that companies can target to improve return on investment.
Since ESG investing is on the rise, a culture of wellness will begin to take hold across communities and the world, as businesses embrace the role of health for their employees. Ultimately, this will boost a firm’s sustainability on many levels which is an attractive outcome in the eyes of investors.
WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally. Through WELL Certification, buildings and communities can be improved. Air quality, ergonomics and lighting were all upgraded to benefit and help the employee. On the community level, recreating areas and bike-sharing options become available.
The WELL Building Standard is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. Backed by scientific research, WELL includes strategies that aim to advance health by setting performance standards for design interventions, operational protocols, and a commitment to fostering a culture of health and wellness.
Wellbeing strategies are becoming synonymous with employee-first policies. By designing the work environment, as well as the surrounding community, with the employee in mind, overall wellbeing can be improved.
Ultimately, the company benefits from this as the wellbeing strategy helps address the labour problem, decreasing burnout and turnover costs.
The Well and Productive CRC
The Well and Productive CRC is proposed to be a seven-year, $100 million collaboration between industry, government, SME and research partners. The Well and Productive CRC and the Well Collective includes leadership from some of Australia's largest companies coupled with innovation from the SME and start up community.
The CRC unites a representative cross section of corporate Australia with leading universities and innovative SMEs to conduct advanced research, codesigned with workers, workplaces and regulators to determine how to measure and mitigate psychosocial risk that improve productivity and the business bottom line. The CRC aims to produce tangible, workplace wellbeing and productivity outcomes for workers and workforces and commercialise new medical technologies for export.
WellCity Adelaide is a movement that wants to improve and show the importance of wellness on the city level. Currently, the company is working on improving people’s lives through wellness by addressing workplaces, residential living, and all business sectors.
This initiative unites countless of business sectors, such as engineers, health professionals, students, property managers, to team up in order to transform Adelaide as a city of wellbeing. By pairing up industry and community leaders, the city can reform itself to prioritize wellness, ultimately reaping economic benefits on multiple levels.
Since ESG investing is on the rise, a culture of wellness will begin to take hold across communities and the world, as businesses embrace the role of health for their employees. Ultimately, this will boost firm sustainability on many levels which is an attractive outcome in the eyes of investment managers interested in seeing value creation across time.
Conclusion: Designing and investing for health
ESG and wellness investing is a non-traditional way of investing that takes a holistic approach to opportunities.
By investing in daily ecosystems and the communities, wellbeing increases, which, in turn, has a positive effect on all areas of the business eco-system.
In order for wellbeing strategies to become a normal part of business and property, operational procedures and standards must be redefined with individual and community wellbeing in mind.