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A healthy workforce is paramount for any business's success. With benefits like increased productivity and more motivated workers, as well as a creating a nicer place to work at for everyone, making steps to encourage a healthy lifestyle at work can really create success for your workplace. So, how can you make your workplace more healthy and successful? Let’s explore this:
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It improves morale
Both physical and mental health are important. One of the biggest factors in work efficiency, retention, and any employee’s overall outlook on a business is their morale. Defined as the feelings of wellbeing an employee has while they’re at work, high employee morale is associated with increased productivity and better satisfaction at work. So, you can see why employee workplace health schemes are important for success. If your workplace doesn’t already offer one, see if you can get one set up.
It boosts productivity
A healthy lifestyle obviously generally tends to make you more healthy. Thus, you usually take less sick days off from work and spend less time going to the doctor. You also feel happier while you’re at work, and work harder.
But don’t just take our word for it - according to a study by Brigham Young University, employees who had healthy eating habits were thought to be 25% more productive, while people who exercised 3 or more times a week were 15% more likely to perform better at their job. Not only this, but workers who both ate healthy and exercised had a 27% lower absenteeism rate compared to their other colleagues.
Less insurance costs
Again, it’s common sense that trying to live healthier simply makes most people more healthy. Therefore, the reduction in doctor’s appointments and health issues leads to decreased healthcare costs. According to a review of several studies, carried out by the CDC, businesses that put an employee wellness initiative into place saw a 25% saving on their healthcare costs, as well as a reduction in absenteeism.
The insurance costs themselves were lower due to the more healthy employees having lower health risks that in turn led to lower insurance premiums. So, ultimately, healthy employees benefits the employer and employees too.
Better retention and recruitment for the business
If you work as a recruiter or in management, you know today’s job market is competitive. So, it makes sense that any workplace offering roles with perks like an employee wellness program gets their jobs snapped up immediately!
A study by Virgin Health Miles and Workforce Magazine found that 87% of all employees favoured jobs with wellness and health benefits when they chose which job to go for, while just over half of Gen Z-ers and millennials thought of wellness programs as either important or extremely important in their job decision.
When it comes to employee retention, employees are more likely to stay with a company that cares about making a happier and more healthy place for them, and that helps them in their journey to make better lifestyle habits. Work is inherently stressful, after all. So, any workplace that knows how important it is to reduce this stress and that implements programs to boost employee happiness obviously ends up with great worker retention.
Do healthy workers really perform better?
Yes! As we’ve explored, people truly do feel happier, perform more productively, and stay for longer at their job when they feel healthy. This feeling of wellbeing could be down to healthy living habits someone personally chooses to implement or due to a wider employee wellbeing scheme, but there are other ways to increase employee health on top of this. Remote working and flexible working hours are two simple solutions that boost wellbeing, work-life balance, and work performance.
How can we get a sense of people’s health at work?
Before you consider making any big changes to manage employee or colleague health, you’ll probably want to get a measurement of where everyone’s health is at the moment. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to gauge this. The first is asking coworkers to fill out a health risk assessment. Also known as a health risk appraisal, this instrument is mainly used to measure potential health costs and can be an effective tool when used in a health program.
Then there are employee wellness surveys or questionnaires. Formulated to gauge both the wellbeing of individual people, as well as the whole office, wellness questionnaires can focus on physical health, mental health, or whatever you like.
How can we encourage healthy habits at work?
Build them into the workplace culture
Is your workplace home to vending machines, buzzy lights or non-ergonomic office gear? Or are management and bosses switched on to the benefits of offering health-boosting options like standing desks, healthy canteen meals and health education for workers? Most businesses are probably a mix of both, and that’s okay. But it’s never a bad idea to work on making wellbeing an everyday thing.
Besides pointing out how eco-friendly it is to leave the car at home, or how a nice walk works wonders for mental and physical health, you could see if the higher-ups would be willing to put up some signage about the benefits of healthy eating or nutrition, or try exchanging recipes through email. A weekly or monthly newsletter is another idea for more busy workplaces.
Set up a wellness program!
We keep going on about this - but for good reason! Employee wellness programs are one of the most effective ways to form a healthy workplace.
It’s up to your workplace’s management how and if they want to run it. In general though, fun activities and rewards like gym memberships and fitness gear are not only cool prizes, they’re also things that make a healthy lifestyle easier. You could also create friendly, enjoyable and achievable yet competitive challenges, such as seeing who can get the most steps or distance in a week.
Incentivising is a fairly effective way to get people into healthy habits. As a way to encorage people to move more, small goals are a great idea. Prizes like gift cards, extra days off, a raffle, or a subscription to a meditation or fitness app are all very interesting options to get employees or coworkers motivated!