The buzz around the efficacy of employer wellness programs often misses the full picture by focusing strictly on medical expenses and ignoring the benefits associated with making companies more competitive. One of the competitive advantages wellness programs promote is greater creativity in the workforce.
A Creativity Research Journal study revealed a link between moderate aerobic exercise and an increase in cognitive creativity. Most importantly, the levels of increased creativity were immediate and sustained over time. “The results supported the hypotheses that creative potential will be greater upon completion of moderate aerobic exercise than when not preceded by exercise (immediate effects), that creative potential will be greater following a two hour lag time following exercise than when not preceded by exercise (residual effects), and that creative potential will not be significantly different immediately following exercise than after a two hour lag time following exercise (enduring residual effects).”
Creative-centric industries, such as design and technology, readily admit the importance employee creativity has on their success. Creativity gains from employer wellness programs should not be limited to these organizations. Creativity can result in excellent productivity, problem solving, customer service, and sustained success for companies in competitive or global arenas. Companies in most industries can benefit from these gains, and the Harvard Business Review reminds us that not all powerful ideas come from the top, especially in recent years.
Greater creativity, along with lower medical expenses, increases in productivity, and improved employee retention, shows the expansive benefits of wellness and why it is becoming a top priority of management teams in every organization. Focusing on a single benefit limits what an organization can achieve from a program.