The recently announced KeepWell Mark from Ibec is a most welcome initiative for Irish businesses, their employees and society at large.

The KeepWell Mark is as Ibec describes it, “an evidence-based accreditation and award that recognises and celebrates the fantastic work that organisations all over Ireland are doing to look after the health and wellbeing of their employees.” Whilst Ibec lists the twin objectives of safety and health as core to the KeepWell Mark, there is no ignoring the fact that wellness and all shades of, is one of the key topics among progressive companies that recognise its importance to long term growth and profitability.

Let’s face it, the lack of internal resources that promote wellness are in themselves inhibitors to profitability and sustainability, especially in industries where skilled workers are scarce. In the private sector, there in nothing like competition to drive survival initiatives and wellness, is in part, borne from this reality.

To Ibec’s credit, they at least recognise the importance of wellness and the part it plays in creating a pleasant working environment. Ireland’s dependence on foreign direct investment means that we have an abundance of US companies that take wellness serious enough that they have roles that are defined by the very title ‘Wellness Officer.’ Talk to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hubspot and emerging Irish software companies such as Intercom and digital agencies such as In The Company of Huskies, and they all get wellness; it plays a fundamental role in their company culture, so for staff, it’s the norm. For most others, it’s something vague and creates visions of josh sticks, bean bags and the soft sounds of whales calling in the background.

The reality is a million miles from this vision and Ibec, again to their credit, pretty much nail it in the KeepWell Mark brochure with their opening sentence which reads, ‘There is strong evidence to show how having a healthy workforce can reduce sickness leave, lower staff turnover and boost productivity. This is good for employers, workers and the wider economy.’ On the same page Danny McCoy, Ibec’s CEO is quoted, “We know we need to get healthier as a nation, so the work environment, a place where we spend so much of our time, is an obvious place to start.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a dire warning for this country. According to the WHO, ‘the statistics show a sharp increase in the number of Irish people suffering from obesity by 2030. A break down shows that obese Irish men lead the gender park with an increase to 48% from 26% followed by Irish obese women hitting an increase to 57% from 23%. It will surprise you to learn that the statistics for Irish men who will be overweight or obese in 2030 will have risen to 89% from the current 48%. The obese and overweight women will have hit the 85% mark.’

Scary stuff indeed!

Again, Ibec are to be commended on the launch of the KeepWell Mark initiative. As a leading representative of industry in Ireland, Ibec has a vested interest in making this initiative a success and there is no doubting that wellness will be discussed, commented upon and introduced to hundreds, if not thousands of businesses across the island of Ireland. As individuals, as business owners and managers, as a society, can we afford to ignore wellness?

Here at Motivation we’ve been championing wellness for some time now and our approach is very much aligned to that of the KeepWell Mark. We put together a 45 minute presentation that we deliver, free of charge, on-premise to businesses, irregardless of their size or location.

We cover a wide range of wellness topics plus we’ve a handout on each topic:

– How to Have a Healthy Commute

– Reasons to Eat Breakfast

– How to Achieve Healthy Habits at Work

– Feed Your Brain – Avoid The Afternoon Slump

– Take Control – Set up your Phone for Mindfulness

– Be Sugar Smart

With a clinic network that spans the country, we are no too far from most businesses. The presentation itself, and an overview of what it entails, and an online form to book your own in-company wellness presentation, can be found by clicking here.

Blog Post by Michael O'Brien