Why healthy and happy individuals perform better

This morning I had a Skype call with my independent study student at Miami University to prepare her final presentation next week on “Why healthy and happy individuals perform better and the impact it has in organizations”.

Our discussion made me think of a way to sum up the importance of organizational health and happiness – not only for the employees but also for the organization itself.

Has “healthy and happy” become buzzwords?

People used to believe that our wellbeing was something that each of us had to take care of in our free time. However, studies show that the most successful, efficient and profitable business people and organisations take their own and their employees’ wellbeing (bodily and mentally) serious – and to the next level.

So, how is this possible without health and happiness not only becoming buzzwords at work?

While I have been welcoming all the wellbeing initiatives being launched lately, I have also witnessed, how they have often only been one shots or incorporated for a very short period of time.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work when it comes to changing behaviour and wellbeing. The effort needs to be consistent in order to adopt and maintain change for it to pay off. Like with most habits and change, as soon as you stop, you stop getting the benefits.

Now, what are the advantages of healthy and happy employees? And are those benefits measurable?


Support overall healthy and happy behaviour and/or choices.

Unhealthy behaviours lead to health risks, which again can lead to long term chronic diseases, which is costly in terms of productivity, time and money.

Several studies have proved the effect of consistent wellbeing programs such as healthier eating habits, increased exercising, decrease in smoking and excess drinking as well as an increase in general safety and stress-management.

Healthier behaviours lead to reducing elevated health risks, such as blood glucose, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

As an example a study from The New England Journal of Medicine showed that for every 1% drop in total cholesterol, the risk of having a heart attack dropped by 2-3%.

In a study of 200.000 wellbeing participants it was found that already after one year 5 out of 7 elevated health risks had improved.

Lower health care costs

The financial impact of wellbeing programs varies depending on how consistently and extensive the program is carried out.

Researchers from Harvard have found that the average Return On Investment was 3.37, meaning that for every $1 spent on wellbeing, the company saved $3.27 thanks to reduced healthcare costs.

Lower absenteeism and sick leave rate

Wellbeing programs can help reduce the absenteeism for reasons such as:

  1. Good health behaviours directly lower sickness, hence the lowers the sick leave rate
  2. Lower elevated health risks decrease sick leave rate
  3. Stress management leads to reduced absenteeism
  4. Healthy and happy stimulate higher morale and engagement in work leads to happier employees who enjoy coming to work rather than staying at home

A study from Harvard has shown a ROI of 2.73. This means that for every $1 spent on wellbeing programs the companies saved $ 2.73 and reduced absenteeism.

Lower employee turnover

Your employees are the most important assets in your company. Great wellbeing programs prove to have a strong impact on employee retention. Further, they make employees more loyal to their companies.

Offering a wellbeing program is a way to indirectly express your gratitude to your employees for their hard work. You also signal that they are important to you and that you want them to be(come) healthy and happy long-term.

Improved productivity

The phenomenon of individuals or employees being unproductive at work is called presenteeism. An estimation of the cost linked to this phenomenon is 2-3 times greater than direct health care expenses.

There are many reasons for people being unproductive at work (lack of direction/ purpose, distractions or tiredness), however the main reason is related to poor health. One study from the journal Population Health Management has shown that employees with an unhealthy diet are 66% more likely to have presenteeism than the health conscious. Also the non-exercising employees were 50% more likely to have presenteeism than the regular exercisers.

Various wellbeing distractors also lead to presenteeism such as for example neck/ back pain (79%), depression (131%), obese (42%).

This all results in higher levels of lost productive work time.

Building and Sustaining Morale, Engagement and Kindness

Wellbeing programs create a feeling of belonging. People start to engage and communicate with each other in a more open, honest and trusting way. This changes the dynamic and inevitably the organisational culture.

After introducing and maintaining a wellbeing program over an effective period of time, people feel more valued and appreciated. Hence, important for them being healthier and happier. This is when the Value of Investment talks louder than the actual monetary investment.

Increased resilience

Happier and healthier employees automatically develop a higher self-esteem, confidence, respect and compassion for themselves and others.

This new mental and physical strength together make you and your employees more resilient, focused and solution-oriented.

Increased creativity and innovation

Peter Drucker once said: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

If the food and environment is not healthy nothing can grow and flourish. This goes for human beings as well as your organisation.

Through wellbeing programs – focusing on a happy body and mind – ideas, creativity and innovative thinking helps your company develop. Hereby your goals and vision easier unfold and become reality.


Are you looking for a way to positively change your own health and happiness or that of your organisation?

We can help you with that. Get in touch today:

Email: info@lenelife.com

Phone: +352 621 439 107

We look forward to hearing from you.