Any wise employer knows that improving employee wellbeing is one of the most effective ways lower healthcare costs. However, far too many underestimate their role in employee health. As employees spend an estimated 35% of their waking hours working, employers have a key opportunity to take an active role in increasing employee health in the workplace. By creating the opportunities for and encouraging employees to engage in healthier behaviors during the workday, employers can see a significant difference in the health, happiness and productivity of employees. Here are some simple ways you can create a healthier workplace and a healthier bottom line.
Offer healthy options
Whether your workplace has vending machines or a fully-stocked fridge, ensuring that employees can maintain a healthy and balanced diet is crucial to both employee wellbeing and productivity. Start by swapping out some of the junk food offered for healthier alternatives, such as fruits or nuts. Choose healthier options when having food catered for meetings or events. If you’re willing to take it even further, start a workplace garden look into hosting an on-site farmer’s market by partnering with local growers and producers. Don’t be intimidated, though; even the smallest snack could make a huge difference.
Encourage employee exercise
One of the most common reasons cited for a lack of exercise is convenience. Employers can overcome inconvenience with this trendy tactic: bring the gym to work. Encourage employees to exercise throughout the workday; from their commute to making the most out of their breaks. Additionally, dedicating a space in the office to fitness is on the rise, growing in popularity among employees and giving you a competitive edge among your competitors. In fact, according to the 2012 Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers study, on-site fitness facilities were perceived as the top perk among employees.
Minimize workplace stress
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. At its best, stress can be a driver to meet important deadlines and invest maximum effort to achieve success. At its worst, stress can erode self-esteem and cause serious health conditions; from depression and anxiety to cardiovascular disease and immune system suppression, unchecked stress has potential to ravage both physical and mental health. Employment is a major source of stress for many Americans, with one out of every four workers reporting that it is the primary cause of stress in their lives. Encourage your employees to take steps to reduce workplace stress or offer stress reducing amenities. This can range from stress-relieving tea in the break room to offering break-time yoga in the workplace. Even the smallest of steps can lower tension and increase productivity.
A workplace is at its best when employee morale is high and everyone is satisfied with their working conditions. It is in everyone’s best interest to contribute time and effort to create healthier working conditions and encourage workers to take advantage of healthy resources. By reducing stress and placing an emphasis on healthy, employers can create a healthier workplace, workforce and bottom line.