You may have heard this funny, yet true quote: “How can I think outside the box when I work in a cube?”
If your workplace is cube-like, dimly lit and has an unhealthy vibe, your employee’s aren’t ever going to be inspired to do better. Creating a healthy work environment is the best way to encourage your team to improve their health, fitness, and overall work performance.
But how can you do it? Will it give a positive impact on your business? Read on to find out.
Benefits of a Healthy Work Environment
A healthy work environment can help your employees can increase their productivity, career passion, and overall performance. It can also lower absence rates, as employees will feel more relaxed and at ease in the workplace.
It can also decrease health risks and injuries, which in turn can reduce healthcare costs for your company.
Wellness in the workplace also improves relations between employees. The team can bond, resulting in a happy crew and even happier customers!
How can you create this healthy work environment? Keep reading for 8 essential employee wellness ideas.
1. Save Your Posture
Sitting in the same spot all day slumped in an office chair could be causing your employees’ unbearable aches and pains, especially in their neck and back. In fact, one half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms.
Setting up your workplace with anti-fatigue floor mats and standing desks can be the perfect solution to these posture killers. Having ergonomic office furniture will result in your employees being more comfortable and more productive.
Check out Uncaged Ergonomics to find out about a standing desk conversion and other ergonomic products for the workplace.
You can also keep your employees active by doing standing or walking meetings, instead of sitting around a traditional boardroom. Take the opportunity to go for a walk outside, or just do a lap of the office!
2. Prevention is Better than a Cure
Another way to keep your employees healthy is to focus on general prevention. Make it easy for your employees to receive treatment. For example, you could arrange for a doctor or dietician to visit and give a short lecture on common health issues.
Try to look for ways you can offer incentives to your employees, for example, health insurance policies. Or you could arrange onsite vaccinations and other basic check-ups.
Keep your work environment clean and environmentally friendly. Post signs about hand washing, especially during flu season.
If you can, institute a work from home policy. This will enable your employees to work from home if they are unwell. This, in turn, can help to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the office.
3. Encourage a Nutritious Diet
The best way to get healthy is through a nutritious diet. Skip the donuts and try to encourage healthy eating in the workplace.
If you provide food, keep it healthy. Only stock wholesome snacks that are low in sugar, such as a fruit bowl. Replace sugary drinks with healthy juices and bottled water instead.
Provide a fridge for your employees, so that they can bring healthy lunches from home. You could even supply them with a blender and a sandwich press so that they can make their own healthy lunches instead of buying a takeout.
4. Keep Active
Encourage your team to keep active and exercise regularly.
Keep it simple with walking meetings in or out of the office. Try to host a monthly team lunch at a nearby healthy restaurant, and walk over together. Make sure your employees don’t eat lunch slumped at their desk, create an attractive space for them to eat and socialize.
Instead of a coffee break, drop and do a few pushups. A couple of minutes stretching and doing a few simple exercises will get the blood pumping and liven up your team.
You can even arrange workout classes, boot camps, hikes, fun runs, gym memberships, a work sports team, or yoga classes.
Another cool way to improve fitness and overall wellness in the workplace is to provide wearable trackers, such as a Fitbit or step tracker. This will give your team an opportunity to track their progress.
Make your workplace friendly for exercising. For example, you could provide bike racks in the carpark, or install lockers and a shower for employees who run or cycle to work.
5. Smoke-Free Policy
We all know that smoking is dangerous, and a major cause of deaths all around the world. Make a no smoking policy for your workplace and in all work vehicles.
This will help team members who don’t smoke to avoid passive smoking. It can also encourage employees to quit smoking, as they may not be able to have their cigarette breaks as often as they’d like.
You can even start a “Quit Smoking” program for your team. Or offer to subsidize aids to quit smoking, such as nicotine patches or even therapy.
6. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol, similarly, can cause a variety of major health issues.
Although you probably don’t allow alcohol in your working hours, there are times drinking is permitted and sometimes encouraged. Promote responsible drinking at any celebrations, social gatherings or company events. And don’t forget to provide non-alcoholic drink options.
If you notice someone is struggling with this issue, encourage them to talk with their doctor, or to join a self-help program.
7. Improve Mental Health
Disregarding mental health issues will not make them disappear. In fact, ignoring mental health in the workplace “causes massive losses in a business’ bottom line and creates hardship for employees” says Mental Health America.
You have the responsibility of keeping an eye on your colleagues and employees. Encourage positive relations and have strategies in place to avoid unprofessional behavior or bullying of any kind.
Train managers on strategies for mental health. Or run employee surveys and polls to find out whats going on behind the scenes.
Create a mental health plan for the whole company. If counselors are required, try to offer a rebate. A great idea is to arrange a professional to visit and give advice on how to reduce stress.
8. Light Up Your Life
Inspire creativity and wellness through good lighting. Natural lighting is key to decreasing stress levels. A dark office cube never did anyone any favors!
Bring the outside in with potted plants. Office plants are a great way to inspire creativity, even if your team are stuck at a desk most of the day.
How to Encourage Healthy Living
As you can see, you as an employer have an obligation and moral responsibility to encourage your team to be healthy. It benefits them and can have a major impact on your business.
For more business and lifestyle hacks, read our blog.