UAE companies still have a long way to go to develop corporate wellness
Companies in the UAE still need to understand that employee wellness can lead to team cohesiveness, decreased sick leave and increased retention syas DUPLAYS Co Founder Derv Rao
January 7, 2013 8:19 by Eva Fernandes
What is corporate wellness?
Corporate wellness refers to the integration of activities, sports and fitness to increase and improve health among the workforce. The results are far reaching and have a positive impact on productivity, team building, staff retention and of course fitness and health. It can also be viewed as a value added programme offered by an employer to its employees to highlight the importance of the team’s wellbeing.
How do UAE companies fare in comparison to their global counter parts when it comes to corporate wellness?
There’s certainly increasing interest in improving and introducing these programmes, but there’s still a long way to go to increase awareness. There are groups that are making big strides toward making corporate wellness a priority such as the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company which DUPLAYS has been working with to offer programmes to more than 15,000 employees. We’ve worked with several large groups and aim to encourage more local and international groups to look into corporate wellness.
Companies in the UAE still need to understand that employee wellness can lead to other benefits in the bottom line – decreased sick leave, increased retention (lowering training costs of turnover) and team cohesiveness. These are intangibles that have financial gain but are not realized in the top line.
Prioritising health and fitness is bound to be a popular resolution for most in 2013.What are three ways businesses can help their employees to be on top of their game?
Companies have traditionally provided gym subsidies or rented fields. Both these methods lead to results that cannot be measured (is the employee using the gym and getting results). Social interaction (team activities) lead to better results because there is a social stigma attached to attendance. But most importantly – fund employee wellness to show their employees that they do care about them.
How does an understanding of corporate wellness benefit a business?
As mentioned previously the programmes bring staff together by breaking hierarchical work boundaries, boosts morale, aids staff retention and with the increases in health and fitness people are more likely to be more productive in the work place. Organizations need to understand that those key benefits listed above do lead to financial gains in the bottom line that may not be entirely visible in top line numbers.
How has the DUPLAYS Corporate Wellness/Leagues program been received?
DUPLAYS corporate wellness has grown to the largest segment of our business. Multinationals have been very receptive as corporate wellness programs are part of their global HR policies. Large local organizations have taken the lead over the last year because they are looking to best practices abroad to compete for great talent.
Which is the most popular request and which program do employees enjoy the most?
Organized intra-company sport leagues are the most requested activities; employees forming teams within an organization and playing each week across a variety of sports. DUPLAYS handles all team formations, scheduling, facilities, equipment and corporations simply lend us their employee contacts. Employees tend to respond the best when team activities are organized because it becomes water cooler talk and creates buzz within the organization itself.
How is DUPLAYS developing its Corporate Wellness scheme in 2013?
Many corporations don’t know what their employees are interested in. We are now creating internal surveys to gauge interest levels but also to evaluate which activities, when to conduct them and where is convenient. This is a free service to all corporations.
We are creating standardized packages so that corporations can simply select off a menu based on goals and budgets. We will then be able to customize each package based on objectives.
DUPLAYS is also adding more individual activities such as swimming, running (training), fitness classes, etc. to expand its offerings beyond sport. In addition, we’re adding more one and two day events for companies that want to go beyond a dinner or lunch for employees and actually incorporate a fun day out to allow employees to bond.