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Friday, 30 June 2023

Corporate wellness has evolved significantly over the years. More businesses are recognising the importance of prioritising the health and wellbeing of their employees. Studies have shown that employees who are healthy are more productive, have lower absenteeism rates, and are less likely to file for disability claims. This has led many companies to invest in corporate wellness programmes to improve the overall health of their workforce.

AfroCentric Group, a leading healthcare solutions provider, has been at the forefront of this transformation. Through its AfroCentric Wellness business, they offer personal health risk assessment services for employees at their place of employment at corporate wellness days – proactively raising awareness and enhancing preventative care to the advantage of both the employer and employee.

According to Sandile Mbele, Executive Director at AfroCentric Corporate Solutions, “Gone are the days when corporate wellness merely involved basic healthcare coverage. AfroCentric understands that employee wellbeing extends beyond medical benefits and tackles the wider spectrum of wellness.”

By integrating various solutions into the workplace, Mbele says companies should always aim to enhance the overall wellness of employees. This includes addressing physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, preventative care, and lifestyle management.

Mbele suggests a few important wellness initiatives that corporates need to think about in 2023:

The Role of the Employee Assistance Programmes

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are a game-changer when it comes to promoting the health and wellbeing of employees. These programmes offer valuable support services to help individuals tackle personal and work-related challenges.

By providing professional counselling, mental health resources, and assistance with financial and legal issues, EAPs address various aspects of employees' lives. Mbele says the confidential and safe space they offer allows employees to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues effectively.

“With EAPs in place, employees experience reduced stress levels, improved work-life balance, and increased job satisfaction,” says Mbele. “These programmes create a positive and supportive work environment that empowers employees to thrive both personally and professionally.”

For companies to benefit fully from the above positive results, employers need to actively promote and encourage employees to make use of the programmes available to them.

Adapting to Industry-Specific Needs

Different industries have unique wellness requirements. For example, call centres may need clinics catering to the specific health needs of younger employees or mines would require musculoskeletal support services and programmes in place to prevent occupational health hazards.

Mbele says businesses should  partner with healthcare providers who understand their environment and specific challenges.  In this way they will be able to collaborate  and tailor their services accordingly.

“By providing onsite wellness support units, you can improve absenteeism rates, presenteeism, and overall employee health, leading to a positive impact on productivity and workplace safety.”

The Growing Importance of Mental and Emotional Health

Mental health has emerged as a critical component of corporate wellness. Mbele says prioritising employee mental and emotional wellness through effective systems is crucial in today's workplace.

“By implementing measures like employee assistance programmes and promoting work-life balance, employers create a supportive environment that benefits both individuals and organisations.”

Mbele says these systems help employees manage stress, enhance resilience, and seek timely help when needed. “Investing in employee mental and emotional wellness is a win-win that fosters a positive work culture and drives organisational success.”

As this is a field that is constantly changing within the environment in which employees work and live, Mbele advises corporates to address mental health concerns, in doing so, they will be able to reduce the prevalence of severe cases and improve employee wellbeing.

The Role of AfroCentric in Community Health

Beyond productivity, Mbele says businesses need to recognise that prioritising employee health has a broader societal impact. “By focusing on corporate wellness and expanding into the community, it is vital that businesses contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of society.”

 “We understand the vital link between financial wellness, physical health, and mental wellbeing, and how this trickles down from employees to their households and to their communities.”

With skyrocketing healthcare costs, sedentary lifestyles plaguing corporate employees, and a growing interest in personal health, Mbele says the demand for wellness services is increasing exponentially  

“We're seizing this opportunity by implementing enticing incentive programmes, launching cutting-edge mobile platforms, and expanding into untapped markets,” says Mbele. 

Despite challenges like stringent regulations, scaling affordable services, and engaging high-risk individuals, Mbele says AfroCentric is determined to make a lasting impact.

“It takes everyone to get this done, so we rely on the businesses we partner with to commit to a shared vision of a healthier, wealthier future for employees and their communities,” Mbele concludes.

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