It’s time to get moving – 4th National Workplace Wellbeing Day – Friday, 13th April

12/2/2018 National Workplace Wellbeing Day. Ibec is calling on employers across the country to sign up for Ireland's 4th National Workplace Wellbeing Day on Friday, 13 April 2018. Pictured at the launch today were Ibec President Edel Creely and CEO Danny Danny McCoy. Thousand of employers have already participated in this annual campaign, which aims to improve employee wellbeing by promoting physical activities and healthy eating in the workplace. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

By Claire Hellen, HR Strategy Specialist, Ibec 


Friday, 13th April 2018 is Ireland’s 4th National Workplace Wellbeing Day, a day when hundreds of employers and thousands of employees across the country will do something special to promote wellbeing in the workplace.

For most, the day will probably involve some sort of physical exercise. It could be the ever-popular Lunchtime Mile walk or run with colleagues, or perhaps even a yoga or exercise class. For others the day will be a chance to learn a little more about what a healthier lifestyle really looks like with organised talks on a range of topics from mental health, nutrition and exercise.  Some employers may even offer complimentary health checks to their staff so individual employees will get some one-to-one advice on the practical steps they need to make to improve their own wellbeing.

But, do workplace wellbeing initiatives really matter to employees?  Can they make any difference at all to a company or, more specifically, to its bottom line? Absolutely. And, for those who haven’t already begun, National Workplace Wellbeing Day, a Food Drink Ireland initiative that is supported by Ibec, is the perfect time to start.

Research amongst employees in Ireland conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes for Food Drink Ireland, shows that the majority of workers are more likely to stay longer with employers who show an interest in their health and wellbeing. Furthermore, half would consider leaving employers who don’t.   Planned and co-ordinated workplace wellbeing initiatives provide clear, demonstrable evidence of an organisation’s values and its workplace culture, and how it lives those values on a daily basis. An organisation’s commitment to the wellbeing of its employees can also be a key differentiator in a competitive marketplace. With recruitment already proving challenging for employers in some sectors, it’s something that may become increasingly important as we edge closer to full employment. Not only can it help set your organisation apart from other employers in your sector, it can also help your employees to become your greatest advocates.

And, the benefits don’t stop there. There is much truth in the old proverb of the importance of a healthy mind in a healthy body. Helping to create a healthier and more engaged workforce will contribute directly to the productivity of an organisation and to its profitability. Approximately 11 million days are lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5bn to the Irish economy. Worryingly, presenteeism, where employees still turn-up for work despite being ill or having ongoing health problems, is estimated to result in a loss of productivity that is, on average, 7.5 times greater than absenteeism. That is a staggering health bill.  In contrast, healthy, engaged employees are, on average, up to 30 days more productive. So, whichever way we look at it, it’s in everyone’s interests – both employers and employees – to do something about employee wellbeing.

For employers who are active in this area and those about to start, the gains will be felt beyond the office door or the factory gate. The World Health Organisation maintains that the workplace is the ideal setting to promote health to a large proportion of the population.  As well as directly influencing the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of workers, they also point out that as many workers are also parents, the realm of influence for workplace initiatives extends beyond the current workforce to the next generation, by positively affecting the health of families, in addition to reaching further out into the wider community and society.

So, we’re encouraging organisations of all sizes and across all sectors, the length and breadth of the country, to get involved and mark Ireland’s 4th National Workplace Wellbeing Day on Friday, 13th April with some healthy and fun workplace initiatives for your employees.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the event is, the important thing is to do something that gets employees thinking about their health.  Today, only one in four of Ireland’s workforce reach the recommended level of over 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. So, even making a difference to that statistic for one week with a company walk, is a good start.



Claire Hellen of IBEC