Just think of how many hours a day you spend in the office…
It would be naive to think that the environment we spend most of our day in doesn’t affect our mood or health. To that end, the space employees live, breath, and work in can either support engagement levels or erode them.
If your office is plagued by gossip, high-stress levels, and limited opportunity for physical activity, know that your employees and your business are suffering. On the other hand, when our place of work promotes and enables healthy routines and positive interactions, we perform astronomically better.
But supporting your employees’ wellbeing doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Below, we review some simples ways in which you can help your staff achieve a healthier and more productive workday.
Well-rested employees are more productive
This one is a no brainer. Sleep-deprived employees are not going to operate at peak performance levels. As a manager, you can play a role by monitoring how much time an employee is putting in and managing workloads.
This is not to say you should discourage your employees from taking on extra work or reaching out to fulfill tasks outside their job description. Rather, you must find the balance.
Workloads, new projects, and priority jobs can be shared amongst multiple employees to avoid one over-worked team member. If you notice employees putting in extra hours every night, let them know you appreciate their work and give them a morning off to catch up on their rest.
Not only will your team members be more awake and engaged, but also they are likely to stay healthier and have fewer sick days!
It’s a win-win all around.
Get up, get moving
Employees absolutely need to have the opportunity to get up and move. Sitting for long stretches of time zaps energy, engagement levels, and overall employee health along with it.
Your company’s productivity isn’t the only thing taking a hit. 70% of all healthcare spending can be attributed to lifestyle choices meaning insurance premiums are likely steadily increasing while your employees stay seated.
If the physical environment your team spends the majority of time in promotes healthy habits, you can effectively counteract rising insurance costs.¹ This could be as brief as a ten minute stretching or walking break all the way to company-wide fitness classes.
Your office space, however, doesn’t necessarily have to house the treadmills and weights: 51% of employers today are looking to launch wellness initiative programs to improve workforce health.² According to a 2016 SHRM survey, creating a culture that promotes wellness and/or providing incentives for healthy behaviour both ranked as top effective strategies for healthcare cost management.³
Gossip is never good
Negative talk and gossip spread like wildfire.
It only takes one grumpy or naturally negative employee to set off a string of unproductive, demoralizing conversations that put a black cloud over everyone’s day.
Preventing toxic talk begins with upper-level staff. The leaders in your organization should embody the attitude and behaviours you want to see in everyone. If employees see their manager gossiping in the lunchroom, they are likely to fall into the same habit.
Once it exists, the only way to stop workplace gossip is to tackle it head-on. Although confronting the source of the problem may feel a bit awkward, addressing the individual(s) will allow you to make them aware of the big-picture implications of their actions.⁴
This conversation should always be done privately in person and never through an email or instant messenger.
If the office morale is suffering and you can’t quite determine why, it may be time to initiate a program that recognizes individuals for demonstrating positive behaviours.
Peer-to-peer recognition programs, in particular, can be an effective tool for promoting healthier attitudes and behaviours throughout the organization.
Everybody appreciates snacks
We’re not saying feed the whole office lunch every day, but a snack bar with healthy food options is guaranteed to put some pep in your employees’ step.
Company-provided snacks let your employees know that the organization is thinking about their needs. But providing healthy food options is particularly powerful.
Vending machines are too often filled with foods that often lead to sugar crashes and sluggishness. Your healthy snack options will literally energize your employees’ bodies. Healthy options are a great supplement to promoting physical activity, supporting long-term employee health and lower insurance premiums.
Another option is to organize a bi-weekly or monthly lunch date with your team where everyone goes out or eats in together. Have your whole team schedule it in so it becomes a mandatory group affair. This will give everyone a chance to unwind, bond, and socialize!
While in-office gyms can be expensive undertakings for smaller businesses, there is a number of options for any organization to promote employee wellness, both physically and mentally. Simply starting by recognizing and rewarding the behaviours that lead to the wellness outcomes you want to achieve is a great way of building a healthier, more productive workforce.