The saying that ‘employees are an organisation’s greatest asset’ is a cliche for a reason.
An organisation’s employees are its lifeforce, and keeping employees healthy and happy is a sure-fire way to build a strong and productive team. If a workforce is unhappy and unhealthy, an organisation risks becoming infected with those two same problems.
It’s in a company’s interest to ensure that they prioritise building and maintaining a sustainable and healthy environment, workplace and culture. Employee health and wellbeing depends on more than just the occasional salary increase or team event.
Each workplace should take a strategic approach to achieving health and happiness in their employees. After all, healthy employees in a small startup will look different to healthy employees in a multinational company. Both have varying resources available and will face different areas of concern.
Take some time out of your day and map out the issues of concern facing your employees. To get you started, here are our 6 top tips for improving employee health and wellbeing in your workplace.
What makes a healthy workforce?
When we think of healthiness, we typically envision physical and body health. However, there is more to health than just muscle tone.
Creating a healthy workplace culture demands more than just policy amendments or organising extra staff events. Ultimately, a healthy workforce requires systemic change.
A healthy workforce consists of people who are happy to perform their roles every day. Stress and other risk factors to mental health problems are well-managed and solutions provided. People who have a disability or experience problems with their mental health are holistically supported and provided helpful resources. There is a zero tolerance to discrimination and bullying, and staff are actively encouraged to build friendships with each other and stay physically and mentally fit.
Benefits of creating a healthy workplace culture
Employee health and wellness will impact all levels of your organisation. A happy and healthy workforce will improve your company culture, while an unhappy workforce will have the opposite effect.
Some of the benefits of consistently healthy employees include:
Greater productivity and improved performance
Simply put, employees that are healthy and enjoy their job work more productively. This also translates to lower rates of absenteeism.
Increased job satisfaction
Job satisfaction leads to employee retention and attracts new talent. Employment conditions contribute to job satisfaction, while inflexible and stressful working conditions decreasing job satisfaction.
Improved office culture
Office culture defines the way we work, and whether we actually enjoy turning up to our jobs. Healthy employees have a symbiotic relationship with office culture; healthy employees improve office culture and vice versa.
6 Ways to Create a Healthy Workforce
Now that we’ve covered the extensive benefits of a healthy workforce, here are 6 proven ways you can transform your workforce into a healthy one.
Manage and promote health and wellness programs
To effectively manage and promote your workforce’s health and wellness programs, consider establishing a wellness hub.
Your wellness hub (could include a team of people that are tasked with wellness initiatives as well as resources readily available to educate and inform) should develop specific goals and objectives that are relevant to your workforce and your organisation’s values.
Consistently check in on how employees feel
All organisations should consistently check in with their employees to ensure they feel supported in their role, whether it is through an anonymous survey or during a weekly one-on-one.
Running mental health training seminars or first aid is one way to increase general awareness of the importance of mental well-being in an office environment. Facilitating a space for meaningful discussions amongst staff and providing clarification on the trajectory of your employees’ career can also assist in creating an open environment that prioritises honest conversations.
If you haven’t already, consider incorporating support resources into your workplace health and safety policies. You can also add references of these chosen resources into your employee handbook.
Create a healthy, pleasant work environment
Nobody wants to work in a boring, drab office. Creating a healthy and pleasant work environment doesn’t have to be expensive. Ensuring natural light and growing indoor plants are two easy ways you can improve your work environment.
Other tips to improving your work environment include investing in a staff coffee machine, providing healthy (or the occasional unhealthy) snacks in the staff kitchen and organising staff events or celebrations.
It’s also important to note that a healthy and pleasant work environment is one that encourages positive feedback. Consider setting aside consistent time in your staff meetings and communication channels for acknowledgements on hard work and personal achievements.
Incentivise physical activity
Modern work has become too sedentary, so it’s important to compensate for this by incentivising physical activity amongst staff. Instead of holding casual one-on-ones in a conference room, try walking meetings.
Some organisations also arrange deals with fitness providers, organise team sporting challenges, pull together teams for outside events. Ways to demonstrate, provide and encourage your staff to engage in physical activity goes a long way to contributing to a very healthy culture.
Encourage employees to use leave
Everyone needs time off. Holidays are an important time in our life and are often part of the reason why we work in the first place. Ensure staff will receive appropriate cover during their PTO so they do not feel pressured into sacrificing their leave under the pretence that nobody is qualified to cover their role in their absence. When staff do take time off, encourage them to switch off their work devices and not check their emails.
You could also look at other leave options as part of your employee value proposition. The team at PerformHR are well versed in ideas to support organisations achieve their objectives whilst looking after their people.
Plan healthy work schedules
Healthy working environments don’t overwhelm their staff with hectic schedules and unrealistic expectations. Prioritise open and honest dialogue with your employees by providing them with a central resource for occasions when they feel overwhelmed.
Hybrid working arrangements can also offer a convenient pathway to a healthy work-life balance. By eliminating travel time and being able to spend their lunch breaks at home, employees can more easily find time to spend with friends and family. Organisations really need to look at how they can attract and retain their people and hybrid working is becoming more commonplace and a decision point for your current and future workforce.
Start improving your employees’ health and productivity today
A healthy organisation begins with healthy and happy employees.
For more advice on creating a HR service delivery strategy that prioritises your employees’ health and productivity, reach out to PerformHR’s experienced team today.