Does your company offer a wellness programme? It should. The benefits of a healthy work force to the business should be obvious; for staff they can be life-saving.
Not only would such a programme ensure fewer sick days, but according to Gallup research, healthy employees are engaged employees and as Jim Harter Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research says, “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their co-workers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”

A good example of such an initiative is the annual Wellness Day for staff of the family owned group of hotels; the Petousis Group (which includes our sister hotels Townhouse and Oude Werf hotels). It is such a success for the company and employees alike that it’s been running for 10 years. A recent Employee Engagement Survey conducted among staff gave a 90% positive rating for all wellness initiatives that took place throughout the year. Held at the Vineyard Hotel on Friday, 24 June, this year’s Wild West themed Wellness Day was open to all employees. Themed snacks (cow pies, choc marshmallows on a stick, bean stew) were on offer, as well as a photo-booth and ‘saloon shoot-out’ – much to everybody’s enjoyment. Communication regarding the event positioned it as a fun day.

The fun aspect underlines the impression that employees aren’t being ordered or coerced into attending but rather doing so voluntarily. Another important consideration is that a wide variety of information and health screenings be available.

The day has been organised for 10 years by an internal team of staff members. Tests offered include blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, dental screening, PAP smears; HIV testing is also offered by a reputable provider. There are TB, breast-cancer and prostate-cancer awareness stands, a registered dietician, and family planning advice. If results of the occuvision test (eye screening) necessitate glasses, the company has an arrangement allowing employees to pay them off over three months; similarly Greencross shoes can be tried on, ordered and paid off over three months. The hotel’s on-site psychologist is also available for counselling.

The importance of looking after employee health is highlighted by the Vineyard Hotel’s nursing sister, Sr. Sue Gie, who says that the wellness day has resulted in positive interventions around high blood pressure and diabetes alerts. “One of these was probably a life saver – a long-term employee had such high-blood pressure reading that he was immediately rushed to a doctor.” Sr Gie adds, “It is always a good idea to have general screening tests done annually since this also gives you a benchmark and means you are taking your health seriously. How can you look after others, both at home and at work, if you are not looking after yourself?”

Roy Davies, the Vineyard Hotel’s General Manager notes, “We started the Wellness Days when we realised that many of our staff had to take time off work to go to clinics for their check-ups. What we didn’t realise was the impact offering those check-ups on site would have. We are grateful to our behind-the-scenes-staff, managers, and all our providers who offer up their time for our work family, thank you!”

The Petousis Group organises various initiatives throughout the year, such as Diabetes Day in November, and the fact that they have both a resident psychologist and nursing sister illustrates the positive benefits the group sees from their wellness programmes.