If your employees are healthy, your business will be healthy too – healthy employees are happier, work harder and produce more. If you invest dollars in helping your work teams become healthier and stay healthier, your investment is likely to be recouped – and then some. Looking after the welfare of your most important assets – your people – is simply good business sense as well as a good thing to do.
Physically healthy employees need much less time off work – sick days, absenteeism and the number of doctor’s appointments fall sharply when your people are in good shape. As an added bonus, when someone falls ill, they tend to recover faster – good for them and good for your business with less disruption.
Healthy people are more productive – they are stronger, both mentally and physically, and able to do more in their workday than if they are being held back by illness.
It also means your teams suffer less disruption when colleagues are not calling in sick, as tasks do not get left undone nor put on the shoulders of others, who can quickly become resentful from pulling double duty for the same pay.
Since any health care benefits you offer your team are based on group rates, a statistically healthier workforce means a cheaper-to-insure group, saving you dollars on the bottom line, as there are many fewer claims made to the health insurance company.
And remember – health is not just about the physical, but the mental. Stress is one of the biggest disruptors in the workplace today, so working to help your people find and maintain good mental health is just as important as a physically safe place to work.
Businesses can help themselves by helping their people become healthier and spending a few dollars to achieve this is worthwhile – plus it is often seen as a motivator by employees as it shows you are invested in them as people. And motivated employees tend to be happier and healthier.
It is worth helping your people think about aspects of their life such as balanced diet, exercise, and sleep. Does your firm help or hinder in these areas? Do you have healthier food options available for staff or are meetings always pizza and doughnuts and vending machines with candy and chips? Do you have gym facilities or offer subsidized membership to a nearby gym? Do you expect staff to burn the midnight oil regularly and still be back at work at 8 am the next day? Do you stagger any shift patterns to give time for home life and sleep between work?
Is your workplace stress-free? Do you have systems in place to spot people with too much on their plates? Do you have clean and hygienic facilities? Or is it a case of ‘it’s always been like that and it was good enough for us’?
Tired or stressed employees simply cannot concentrate as well as healthier colleagues – and make more mistakes as a result. This may be simply inefficient in some workplace settings but can have catastrophic results in others, especially if tired and unfocused people are operating heavy machinery or working with tools. If instigated properly, a good health approach in your business can also drive employee engagement, build teams, improve cooperation, and lead to an improved and positive work culture.
Look at your facilities – do you have well-designed work stations, access to natural light, and promote screen breaks? Poor posture and too much blue light from screens – be they desktops, laptops, tablets, or phones – can cause untold poor health.
Do you encourage no-smoking programs and healthy eating options? Does your health plan include free preventative care check-ups? Do you have counseling options for staff to speak with someone when they need to? We try to separate home and work lives, but the two spill into each other, and a problem at home can become a problem at work if the individual has no way to work it out.
Are all work social events based around food and alcohol? Maybe offer healthier options and non-alcoholic drinks alongside the more traditional fare – especially for those employees driving home after the event.
There are a myriad of ways to help your people be healthier. While ultimately it will always be an individual choice to have a cigarette or an extra slice of pizza, it does not mean your workplace cannot help and encourage better decisions – peer pressure works two ways.
If you can make it easier for your people to try a healthier way of life, many will seize the chance – we are all time-poor and if there are ways you can help build in healthy options for people and encourage and reward them for taking part, everybody wins.