Most organisations are fully behind workplace wellness but more needs to be done to sell the programmes to employees

Almost all businesses have or plan to have a fully implemented wellness strategy, according to a report released by Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).

The study on workplace wellness practice, which took on board feedback from HR, OH&S and corporate wellness personnel worldwide, shows 95% of organisations are committed to workplace wellness. Wellness strategies have begun in over four in 10 companies, while 22% have completed implementation. Only 5% of firms were found to be neglecting staff wellness.

The 2013 Global Workplace Health & Wellness Report discovered 84% of organisations are determined to change long-term behaviours through wellness strategies. They recognise health risks can be reduced and performance enhanced among workers.

Despite the efforts of organisations, fewer than 20% of employees are participating in programmes, a figure well below the target of 60%. Main reasons were lack of time and interest, which has sparked calls for greater flexibility and more emphasis on fun.

The report also revealed almost four in five organisations are struggling to sell the programmes to higher-risk workers, with only 21% managing to convince those employees to take part. These workers are in desperate need of intervention, both for themselves and for the workplace as a whole. Appealing initiatives would boost participation levels and business returns.

Almost half of companies believe workers avoid wellness programmes because they feel they are not enjoyable and lack engagement. Nearly all of organisations rated fun as of medium-to-high importance, with only one in 10 stating they offer very high levels of fun.

Wellness initiatives have been supported by findings by LawCare, which has revealed stress is a common problem among lawyers.

Almost 70% of lawyers who contacted its specialist advice service last year were suffering from stress, while 10% were feeling depressed.

The charity opened 378 case files in 2012 and recorded the same number of stress reports as the previous year.

LawCare's report, which was published in Counsel Magazine, shows 272 callers were able to identify the main issue behind their troubles. Over a quarter blamed workload, with almost one in five pointing to financial problems and more than one in 10 claiming they were being bullied.

"The most common issue reported to LawCare in 2012 continues to be stress," the report stated.

"LawCare opened 378 case files in 2012, compared to 392 in 2011. Stress was given in 69% of the calls, exactly the same as in 2011. This was followed by depression (13%), alcohol (6%) and other issues (12%)."

Copyright Press Association 2013