Workplace trends are constantly shifting, and one of the biggest shifts we’ve witnessed within the past few years has been the move away from an ‘all work no play attitude’ to a growing focus on employee health and wellbeing.
Today, businesses are striving to build a strong and healthy company from day one, but just what is the best way for modern managers to promote a healthy lifestyle within the workplace?
Employee wellness programs
A hot topic right now is the idea of the employee wellness program; a diverse (and often costly) initiative that provides some sort of health benefit to the worker. This could be the introduction of on-site gymnasiums or sponsored gym memberships, weight loss programs, or support to stop smoking.
But do they really work?
Perhaps not. According to Harvard research, wellness programs yield unimpressive results; and can be ineffective in the long term. For large corporations with the necessary funds to roll out such schemes, it’s a nice thing to offer. But for smaller businesses, it’s just not worth the expense.
So what does work?
Simplicity. To promote a healthy lifestyle in the workplace, it’s important to take a back-to-basics approach. Believe it or not, employees don’t actually want fancy benefits with bells and whistles. In fact, the Future Workplace Wellness Study found that a comfortable office temperature and good air quality are four times more important to workers than gym facilities when it comes to staying healthy at work.
Keep your employees healthy at work
Promoting healthy lifestyles in the workplace is all about making simple changes that actually work. We’ve used some of the latest research in workplace wellness to generate three of the easiest ways that small businesses can boost both the physical and mental health of their valuable workforce:
1. Prioritize workforce management
Employee burnout is real. And it’s scary. Burnt-out employees are 63% more likely to call in sick, and they’re nearly 3 times as likely to be considering leaving the company. The truth is that many employees are overworked and feel stressed, which means that health and wellness should be a big part of workforce management, and vice versa.
To promote a healthier balance, take a closer look at shift scheduling to ensure that employees have adequate time off, and schedule mandatory breaks throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to create a work-free environment where employees can get away from their tasks, especially at a time when one-third of people admit to working during lunch.
2. Go green
As discussed earlier, aspects such as temperature and air quality are hugely important to employees, particularly when it comes to their health and wellbeing. Recently, the World Green Council looked at how sustainable changes impacted employees.
Not surprisingly, in every single case study, it was found that employees feel healthier in green spaces, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. 72% of employees at sustainable building consultancy Floth reported improved health when working in a zero-carbon office, while paint company Sherwin-Williams almost halved their sick days by going green. Try adding some low maintenance plants to the office, venting windows, and allowing lots of natural light to flow in.
3. Set boundaries
Healthy businesses have boundaries. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking client/business boundaries, manager/employee boundaries, or employee/employee boundaries. If you don’t have them, you need them. Why? Because how employees are treated at work can significantly impact the lifestyle they choose to follow at the office.
Did you know that half of us have cried at work because of stress? Or that 29% of us have yelled at a coworker, and 2% have actually physically attacked a colleague? To promote a healthy lifestyle, boundaries need to be set. It’s vital that managers know how to set these boundaries and understand what is expected in the workplace through leadership, training, and awareness.
Benefits of healthy workplace lifestyles
These three tips can help you promote a healthy lifestyle in your workplace, but here’s a question for you: why is a healthy workplace lifestyle necessary?
Well, if we refer back to the Future Workplace Wellness Study, it’s believed that 70% of people are more likely to stay in their job if they work in a healthy environment. And, right now, employee retention couldn’t be more important. The majority of US businesses today are reporting talent shortages, and are struggling to find the best people for the job. By promoting a healthy lifestyle, you’re helping to keep your best talent happy, healthy, and onboard.
Derek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets, and communication. With a focus on Emerging Retail, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor costs in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.
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