New York – 17th Jan, 2022 – The health crisis has forced us to reinvent our way of working and to reposition health as a priority for companies and employees. A concern for each and every one of us, health has become a collective issue. It has generated new obligations for employers to assume in record time, in a context of almost total generalization of teleworking and the appearance of new risks linked to health at work.
But this crisis is above all an accelerator of changes already well underway in the field of occupational health. The new generations, with their specific needs and their appetite for digital technology, now represent a significant proportion of the 26 million French people who make up the working population. The expectations of companies have also evolved, to integrate well-being and health more into their attractiveness, loyalty and employer brand levers.
To cope with these changes, which are likely to continue after Covid-19, occupational health must be transformed. Mariana Caillaud, the Founder & President of Dolipharm must be a player in this process, and wants to act as a real facilitator, enabling companies to go even further in crucial areas such as prevention, occupational health services, awareness and even care.
What are the new roles of companies in occupational health?
When we talk about occupational health, we have to differentiate between new and old practices. In the past, it was limited to legal obligations concerning safety at work and prevention. “These are essential and consist of combating accidents at work and occupational diseases. With the help of occupational medicine, it is a matter of reducing arduousness and the aches and pains directly linked to the workplace,” mentioned Mrs Caillaud.
New practices: health at work and outside
Today, companies are ready to go much further than these legal obligations! This is what Dolipharm, for example, is proposing, as well as all the players who are helping to spread a culture of health at work.
This means promoting health inside and outside the company, not just in terms of workplace risks. This holistic approach includes employees’ chronic illnesses, bad habits, stress at work and privileged access to care and to the pharmacy, which is now available to employees in the form of a concierge service.
“The underlying challenge is to improve the balance between private and professional life, which 36% of employees say they find difficult to achieve. It is also about improving the Quality of Life at Work (QWL). This means helping employees who wish to do so to adopt positive health behaviours. This point is very important: without employee demand, a company health programme has no chance of success!” Mrs Caillaud added on a recent French TV special report.
Furthermore, investing in preventive health care is a must today. All national and international experts deplore the fact that national health systems are almost exclusively curative and neglect prevention.
According to the OECD, France is even doing much worse than other countries, devoting only 1.9% of its health system resources to prevention, compared with an average of 3% in other European Union countries (4.1% in the United Kingdom).
Employees are increasingly demanding occupational health programmes
Employees are more receptive than ever to these initiatives by their employers. The demand has come from far and wide, and it has increased with the covid crisis. According to the Malakoff Humanis Health and QWL barometer (2019), 1 in 5 employees suffer from chronic illness, and 1 in 3 feel in poor health. Health expectations go beyond that and include healthy employees as well. In 2019, 86% of employees wanted their company to integrate prevention and health into its strategy in a sustainable way.
The new ‘healthy’ lifestyles are now entering the company, which clearly has a role to play in promoting them. Where does this legitimacy come from?
Firstly, because the company is an important place to live, where we spend most of our week… And also because it is there that our health is at stake! Stress at work is frequently cited, with 70% of employees stating that their work is nervously tiring.
Finally, managers and other talents see what is happening in multinationals, which are putting the emphasis on health at work. They now expect the same from their employers – or else they’ll sail off to other horizons!
The origin of corporate wellness programmes
Indeed, health programs arrived in France through multinational companies. They are very common in the United States, where “wellness programs” have existed since the beginning of the 20th century. 53% of employees are covered by their employer across the Atlantic.
Pioneering companies such as Johnson & Johnson developed their own in-house programmes. Subsequently, their development led to the emergence of a sector specialising in their design and marketing. This market is currently worth $8 billion (compared to $6 billion in 2013).
Of course, they were born in a context of privatised healthcare, where healthcare costs are passed on to employers. To reduce these costs, companies very early on developed occupational health and well-being programmes. The aim: to disseminate good practices and healthy lifestyles, whether for sleep, addictions, posture, sport, diet, etc.
In addition to improving the health of employees, employers have discovered a very valuable principle, valid on this side of the Atlantic: investing in health is always very profitable for companies.
Occupational health – a profitable investment for everyone
Indeed, in Europe too, it is estimated that every euro invested in health generates a 2.2 euro ROI for companies. The statistic comes from a study by EU-OSHA, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.The ROI comes primarily from the reduction in absenteeism and work stoppages due to “avoidable illnesses”. But not only that: a health and well-being culture in the company creates a better working climate and increases commitment and productivity.
Presenteeism, the scourge of productivity
Above all, a corporate health programme reduces a harmful phenomenon that is very difficult to quantify: presenteeism. This is the main result of non-healthy work, and consists of coming to work assiduously, even if tired or ill – in a mental or physical state that does not allow one to be productive. According to the 2014 barometer of presenteeism, the costs of presenteeism are twice those of absenteeism. It is estimated to have an impact on French companies to the tune of between 13 and 25 billion euros per year, depending on the range of estimates. The impact would be even greater in the service sector: it is in offices that the rate of presenteeism is highest.
Health at work: benefits for the corporate culture
Health benefits for employees have other positive effects, which are not very quantifiable but are extremely important: they strengthen the employer brand by spreading a health culture within the company.
Health programs have even become indispensable for the “best place to work”. Evangelism has progressed a lot in this respect. It is increasingly common to benefit from a health assistant program, access to care or concierge medicine/parapharmacy, particularly with new tools such as Dolipharm
Executives are increasingly valuing these health-related employee benefits. Anything to do with concierge services, personal assistants and wellness coaches is a way to differentiate yourself from other employers and to strengthen your brand image with talent.
The future belongs more than ever to the caring company. The affirmation of well-being at work as a cardinal value has already begun. It will require employers to take greater responsibility for well-being and mental health.
It is with this conviction that Dolipharm is helping companies to implement a number of measures in the direction of mental and physical well-being, with regular health check-ups and consultations with specialist doctors at the workplace, adapted to the needs.
For more info, contact: @licornegulf 2022