Wellbeing Costs

In the current economic climate, investing in workplace wellbeing might seem like an extra cost that businesses cannot afford. Yet, what if I told you that not investing in the wellbeing of your employees could cost you more in the long run?

At Workplace Wellness, we recently completed a mini survey at the Wellbeing at Work conference, where we identified the top three barriers to investing in workplace wellbeing: perceived cost, scepticism about its value, and lack of in-house skills and knowledge. Let’s look at these barriers and explore why overcoming them is not only feasible but essential, especially during a financial downturn.

Perceived Cost: The Real Investment

One of the biggest misconceptions about workplace wellbeing is its cost. Many decision-makers believe that implementing wellbeing programmes is prohibitively expensive. However, this perception is often based on assumptions rather than facts.

Reality: Numerous studies have shown that the return on investment (ROI) for workplace wellbeing programs can be substantial. For instance, the NZEIR report for Xero on Wellbeing and Productivity reports that focusing on an organisational approach to mental health and wellbeing and creating a wellbeing culture, sees a return on investment of $5 for every $1 spent. Additionally, wellbeing programs can reduce absenteeism and high sick leave, and improve employee attraction and retention. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, which directly contributes to the company’s bottom line.

Scepticism: Dispelling the Myth of “Fluffiness”

Another barrier is the belief that wellbeing initiatives are “fluffy” and lack tangible benefits. This scepticism can stem from a lack of understanding of what workplace wellbeing entails and its impact on business performance.

Reality: Wellbeing is not just about providing yoga classes, gym memberships or healthy snacks. It’s about creating a work environment where employees can thrive, both physically and mentally. 89% of those surveyed in the Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2023 said it’s important to me to work for a company that supports the health and wellbeing of their employees. With the annual cost of absence of a typical employee $1,235 according to the Southern Cross and Business NZ Workplace Wellness Report 2023, reducing the reasons for employee absences could result in cost savings. These are hard, measurable benefits that directly correlate to improved business performance. Wellbeing programs can include mental health support, flexible working conditions, opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a positive work culture – all of which are far from “fluffy.”

Lack of In-House Skills and Knowledge: Building Capabilities

The third barrier is the perceived lack of in-house skills and knowledge to effectively implement and manage wellbeing programs. This can be a daunting challenge for many organisations, especially smaller ones.

Reality: While it might seem challenging to start from scratch, many resources and experts are available to guide businesses in building effective wellbeing programs. Partnering with organisations like Workplace Wellness can provide the expertise and support needed to develop and sustain these initiatives. We offer tailored solutions that fit the specific needs of your business, ensuring that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Moreover, investing in training and development for your existing Wellbeing, HR and Leadership Teams can empower them with the skills needed to champion workplace wellbeing internally.

Why Invest in Wellbeing During a Financial Downturn?

In times of financial uncertainty, it might seem counterintuitive to invest in wellbeing initiatives. However, this is precisely the time when such investments are most critical. Employees are the backbone of any organisation, and their wellbeing directly impacts their performance and the overall health of the business.

When employees feel supported during tough times, they are more resilient, adaptable, and motivated. This resilience can lead to innovative solutions, better problem-solving, and a stronger, more cohesive team. Moreover, companies that prioritise employee wellbeing are often seen as more attractive employers, helping to retain top talent and reduce recruitment costs.


Investing in workplace wellbeing is not just about doing what’s right; it’s a strategic business decision. By addressing the perceived barriers of cost, scepticism, and lack of skills, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce. In doing so, they not only enhance employee satisfaction and productivity but also build a more resilient and competitive organisation, capable of weathering financial downturns and emerging stronger.

At Workplace Wellness, we are here to help you optimise workplace wellbeing, providing the tools and expertise needed to make wellbeing a cornerstone of your business success. 

Robin Wilson Resilence At Work Specialist Sm

Robin Wilson

Robin is a Resilience at Work Coach, Workplace Wellness Specialist and Holistic Health Coach who specialises in helping leaders, teams and individuals to flourish amidst uncertainty by cultivating resilience.

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