For years, with some success and failure, small and large businesses, alike, have encouraged employees to make healthy life choices in efforts to create a healthier workplace. While it’s not viable to force every employee in the workplace to make better choices concerning his or her health, a healthy workplace benefits all employees as well as the company.
If you are a business owner trying to improve the health of your company or if you are an employee working in an environment that either values or doesn’t value your health, here are some reasons as to why workplace health is more important than you may think:
As a business owner, how many times have you arrived at work to find that a significant amount of your employees were out sick? When your workforce is missing more than a few good women and men, it’s difficult to stay caught up. Occasional absences due to injury or illness are not uncommon and are sometimes unavoidable, but can be prevented or at least decreased with good health practices.
A healthy company is more productive; this may go without saying, but it bears repeating time and time again. The productivity (and overall success) within a company is based on many factors, but when all employees are present, healthy, and happy, the productivity is often at an all time high. Think about your own workplace. If a handful of employees are gone, it’s inevitable that the productivity will suffer and as a result, other employees may feel stressed and unhappy as they try to pick up the slack.
Respect and Morale
“Sue”, the office manager, contracted a nasty virus from her grandchild over the weekend. By the following Friday, six employees are gone due to Sue spreading germs. The remaining employees are trying to ward off the germs and feel unhappy because there’s pressure to do more work and many wish that the employer would have sent Sue home when she started exhibiting symptoms.
When a workplace is less healthy than it could be, morale may be low and employees may have resentment towards their employer, feeling as if they aren’t valued. As a result of this negativity, the quality of the work is more than likely affected.
Ways an Employer Can Create a Healthier Workplace
Many employers think that offering health insurance to their employees is enough for creating a healthy workplace. While it’s a good start, it’s often not enough. Here are a few ways an employer can focus more on employee health:
- The Integrated Approach:
Experts have found that the integrated approach, which takes a look at a number of factors that affect workers such as physical, social, and mental health, can improve the health of a workplace. Basically, employers are paying attention to what they can offer to their employees to promote health, attendance, and productivity.
- What Do They Need/Want?:
As an employer, you decide to offer a breastfeeding lounge or breastfeeding resources for new working mothers. You may also want to consider offering healthy food options in the break room or allocate a time of day for a group stretch or taking a brief walk around company headquarters.
Talk to your employees and ask for (and value) their feedback. If your company’s health could benefit from taking a “health break” for 20 minutes each day, don’t look at is money lost. Instead, think of it as an investment to ensuring better health and productivity.