Read what she has to say about the importance of keeping your employees fit and wellness in the work place.

Wellness in the work place

So, we all know the 3-4-50 health stat don’t we? Don’t we? You don’t? Oh, really? 

Ok let me fill you in.  It’s a real beaut. One that you’ll be repeating at many a dinner party to come:

• Three Behaviours (Tobacco use, poor diet & lack of physical activity)

• Lead to four chronic diseases (Heart disease, Diabetes, Lung disease & Cancer)

• That contribute to 50% of preventable deaths in the world

Pretty compelling eh? So, in theory by giving the above some attention we could, quite easily, help reduce the risk of premature death.  

The thing is… we just ‘don’t have the time’.

It is proven that exercise is good for us; it's good for your heart, promotes weight loss, prevents osteoporosis, lowers high blood pressure, prevents colds, reduces the severity of asthma, reduces diabetic complications, plays a role in preventing cancer, improves sleeping patterns, helps prevent stroke and helps to manage arthritis.

And that’s just the physical benefits… 

We all know that exercise boosts happy chemicals. It’s also proven to improve self-confidence, sharpen our memories, reduce stress and anxiety, help control addictions, prevent cognitive decline and boost our brainpower.  Plus, which is very important to iris, it helps individuals tap into creativity.

It makes undertaking regular exercise a very compelling argument right? But there will always be reasons why we don’t put on our trainers and get sweaty each day… and these reasons come thick and fast.

At iris, we have taken steps to help knock out as many of these reasons as possible.

18 months ago, iris started to take employee health seriously by employing me as the company personal trainer.  The iris team is able to have Personal Training during work hours, at no cost to them. Staff are encouraged to work out on work hours, (no more excuses of ‘no time’) they are given bespoke training sessions and plans to meet their goals and it’s all free. Sporting events and competitions are created internally, individual sporting achievements outside of work are recognised and rewarded and we have teams for softball, netball and football who compete in industry leagues.

It’s not just sport though… We have created a wellness program where staff have access to onsite health screenings, inspirational speakers are brought in to talk about everything from sporting excellence, nutrition, stress management, injury prevention, cycling awareness and running techniques.

But why have iris decided to make such an investment? Well quite simply, they care. 

iris is built on a foundation of values where it’s employees are at the heart.

But this isn’t necessarily a strong enough business case for other companies to follow suit and do the same. So what is?

Well, The Sunday Times “Britain’s Healthiest Company” survey produces one killer stat that makes this a compelling business argument for anyone.

• 85% of employees surveyed on lifestyle have a ‘vitality age’ higher than their actual age

What determines a Vitality age? Lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, mental health, smoking and alcohol. 

People with a vitality age higher than their actual age have on average four more days off sick than their healthier counterparts. To a company, this means the cost of absenteeism is 15% lower for a company with a lower average absenteeism age.

All things a company can help their employees to control. All the things that a company ‘Wellness plan’ can address.

By introducing a Wellness plan and reducing your employees Vitality Age you are likely to see: 

• A 27% reduction in sick leave

• A 26% reduction in sick leave costs

• A 32% reduction in workers compensation & disability claims

• Helping potentially ‘at risk’ employees seek medical help earlier preventing potential long term illness

• Improve your staff retention 

How to make it a success

1.Ensure it comes from the top leadership across the board 

2.No ‘one size fits all’– make it bespoke to your company and employees

3.Easy implementation. Don’t make it too complicated or too expensive. It’s simple changes that make a difference but are easy to maintain 

4.Partnerships - get experts involved such as sportspeople, doctors, exercise professionals, therapists. Bringing in external support shows you are taking it seriously and also allows confidentiality assurance for staff

5.Constant communication to engage staff to remind them what they have access to 

To find out more about Rebecca Cox visit 


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