12th May 2016

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by: Jo Dodds

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Promoting Wellbeing in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers

If you want productive employees, they need to be more than just happy. Healthy employees are around the office longer. Their energy levels are higher, and their attitudes are positive. Many companies participate in wellness schemes to create a better work environment. Encouraging your employees to take charge in their wellness can reduce healthcare costs in the long term, and it isn’t difficult or costly to inspire everyone to move in the right direction.

Start with small measures

What can you do to give everyone a head start? Think about times where your office loses productivity because your employees are sick. Flu season is awful, and the office gets really empty when everyone is miserable at home. You don’t want everyone infecting each other, spreading influenza from one end of the office to the other. Offering free or discounted flu vaccines at work will encourage everyone to take advantage of them. Nobody wants to get sick, but their schedules may be too full to make room for a trip to the doctor. Try offering them on-site.

Give everyone access to education

Your employees deserve valuable knowledge about nutrition and exercise. Consider having a speaker come in for a voluntary presentation. Most people want to eat healthier and move more, but they’re not sure where to get started. Give them the information they need to make meaningful lifestyle changes. Incentivizing the presentation will encourage employees to attend – even if that incentive is merely some time away from their desks or a provided nutritious lunch.

Get everybody moving

What kind of company events do you generally hold? Things like bowling are fun, but your employees won’t get much of a workout. Hiking trips or sports teams are a better option. You’ll be demonstrating that a healthy lifestyle is a priority of your company, and you’ll be able to spread that notion throughout your company culture. Charity walks and runs are another great way to get your employees on their feet. Advertise these events to your staff.

Don’t keep junk food lying around

It’s customary to feed your employees during morning meetings, but what are you putting in front of them? If there’s a big box of donuts, guess what they’re going to eat? Provide your employees with healthier options. There’s nothing wrong with salads and fresh fruit as food offerings. If you provide them with vending machines, make sure there’s more than chips and soda available. You’ll help them change their snacking habits, as well as the things they crave.

Mental health is just as important

High stress levels and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of serious health problems. The least you can do is help your employees keep their stress levels to a minimum. There will always be difficult projects and frantic moments around the office, but you need to balance them out. It’s important that you never give your employees more than they can reasonably be expected to handle. Make sure everyone takes their fifteen minute breaks. Alternate between tasks often, and encourage your employees to use their vacation time when they need it. Being burnt out and feeling overworked has a negative impact on the human body, and your employees need time to recover.

You may spend a little more promoting wellness in your workplace, but it’s a small price to pay in the long run. You can’t afford employees who are constantly sick and stressed. Always keep an open dialogue about health and wellness.

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

 

Image courtesy of atibodyphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net