Is yours a healthy workplace?

Businesses are always looking for ways to improve their business performance. A lot of the focus can be placed on things such as: profit, turnover, time management etc. All of which are important of course, however sometimes the general health of employees isn’t as high on the agenda as it should be. There are lots of ways in which a healthy workforce can improve productivity and business performance and in general positively impacting your business.
Can a healthy workforce prevent absences?

This is an obvious benefit of ensuring that your workforce is healthy – they will inevitably be absent less often. If your employees are in good health, they are much more likely to be motivated to stay in work. Even if they do come down with an illness, someone who is in good physical health will take less time to recover than someone who is not. This means that your company could make substantial savings simply by promoting a healthy working environment and by reducing absences.

Can it also reduce business costs?

The average working age of people working in the UK is falling, which makes it even more important to retain the staff that you recruit. By pushing good health amongst your workers and creating a positive environment – this could result in a lower staff turnover, reducing your recruitment costs. If your workforce remains happy and healthy, it can achieve the following results:

  • Higher productivity levels
  • A boost in staff morale
  • Higher levels of employee engagements

As mentioned, there could be savings made when it comes to ill-health related absences. This will also have a knock-on effect when it comes to sick pay costs – and relieve further pressure on other employees who would have to otherwise pick up the slack.

It will demonstrate good corporate and social responsibility

Prospective clients and people in your business network of course appreciate a high level of service, a quality product (depending on what type business you are in) and everything else that’s associated with providing them with what they need as a service provider – but they also buy into the company itself.

This is where corporate and social responsibility fits into things. If you are viewed as an employer who looks after their employees, they are more like to buy into you. Public image is an important part of business success and taking care of the health and wellbeing of your employees is a fantastic way to do this.

How can you implement health and wellness in the workforce?

Incorporating health and wellness in the workplace is not only important for the business overall, but for the employees themselves. There is a trend that has developed in the past 10 years where people are working more, aren’t quite as active, a lot more stressed, gaining more weight and at a higher risk of getting chronic illnesses.
There are certain areas that are crucial when it comes to implementing a program such as this which we have outlined below.

Nutrition education

Employees should understand how important it is to have a healthy diet. If you push healthy nutritional changes within your workplace it should in turn encourage healthy eating. This has many benefits to both the business and the employee. Sometimes employees can find it difficult to keep up with eating healthy particularly if they are in a high-powered job where there isn’t much time to devote to these kinds of things. However, if this is something that becomes engrained in your company culture – the result should be a positive effect on mental and physical employee behaviour.

Physical activity

This sort of goes hand in hand with nutrition but is often something that’s overlooked, particularly if a lot of your workforce operates from a desk. If you are enforcing the correct amount of physical activity, this can dramatically reduce the risk of diseases, back and neck problems, weight gain and stress levels. You can ensure that there are bouts of physical activity as part of the working day as part of the company culture to promote this, also improving employee engagement. You should see that your employees end up with much higher energy levels.

Sitting at a desk for a prolonged period of time on a regular basis has shown to bring on diabetes and heart diseases. Should you begin to see any signs that your workforce are having any issues – it also may be a good idea to have professionals on hand that you can refer them to for advice. For example, you could find a reputable private cardiologist London based to offer your employees consultations and other private healthcare professionals. For example, there’s the London Heart Clinic who have private cardiologists in 8 different locations across London which may be helpful for companies who aren’t centrally based and need to find someone close by. Some companies also offer perks such as gym membership as part of their contracts that will help combat any weight issues.

Stress and mental wellness management

High stress levels are one of the most common problems when it comes to health issues in the workplace. It can lead to employees being unproductive, but more importantly can trigger things such as anxiety, depression and certain diseases. There have been lots of studies conducted that have seen a great reduction in employee health issues. Companies can do lots of things to curb this. As well as educating employees on these kinds of issues, businesses have been more innovative in their approach to improving this such as: having a life coach that is readily available should they need one, promote yoga classes, and you will find that some companies even have massage therapists on hand on certain days to reduce stress levels.

Ensure your workplace is a smoke-free environment

This is something that has become a little easier in recent years due to the legal restrictions of people being able to smoke in public places. It’s not only bad for your employees’ health – it’s also unproductive in terms of the habit itself and time. Instead of smoke breaks which employees on occasion use to destress, you can encourage different kinds of stress and wellness activities that are more productive and better overall for their health.
A workplace health and wellness program should create a well-balanced workplace environment – and should strengthen the relationship between the employer and the employee. When implementing, not only should it have the employee in mind, but there is no reason why they shouldn’t be involved in the development of it. You can take on their feedback and create a more tailored program specific to your company culture. The idea is that this should leave you with an increase in efficiency, effectiveness and improve your staff retention overall. Ideally your office should be a place your workforce enjoys coming to. This in turn will have a massive impact on business performance, and the aforementioned areas that businesses tend to focus on such as: turnover, profit etc. This will be looked after by ensuring you have a happy and healthy workforce.

As published by Sarah Dunsby in London Loves Business on 3rd April 2018

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