Our health is one of the most important things we can have. As an employer, is it your responsibility to make sure that your employees feel encouraged to invest in their health, even when they are working their 9-5. High performance and sustainable results from employees are simply not possible if their health is not maintained. A key factor that all business owners should implement into their business structure is to encourage their workforce to prioritise health, and offer incentives for employees to do so in and out of the workplace.
In this blog post, we will share exactly how all employers should be encouraging their workforce to live a healthier lifestyle, and how to embed this into their daily working schedules. Take a look at the following suggestions:
1. Lead by Example
First things first, as the business owner or face of the business, you need to lead by example. This means sharing with employees hope you are making change for your own wellbeing and lifestyle, and sharing how it is positively impacting your own life. People lead by example, and as the successful owner of the business, you should be encouraging employees to do as you have done to improve their own quality of life, and inherently helping them to feel better when they are in the workplace.
2. Provide Access to Wellness Resources
Wellness resources should be available to your employees. This does not mean to say that you should have your own private in-house doctor, but instead, you should offer memberships and health plans at the expense or partly paid for by the business. For example, gym memberships are always a great idea for companies to offer their staff. You can create corporate contracts for multiple employees which can discount the overall price of multiple memberships. You might also offer free therapy, and dental checkups for your staff to make sure they are looking after themselves mentally and physically.
3. Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible working arrangements have been proven to improve employee satisfaction and help staff members balance their work and personal lives. This can be anything from allowing work from home days to allowing staff to work their scheduled hours at any time of the day they'd like. For example, if you have staff that have to rush to work from the school run, allow them to start work later and finish later instead of being panicked and in a rush. Flexible working arrangements are great for mental wellness and also help busy families balance their work and home life.
4. Wellness Challenges
Challenges are also a helpful way to encourage community within your workplace and get people together to focus on their wellness. Challenges such as running a certain distance within a month, spending 10 minutes a day meditating in the morning, or starting a book club of reading mindfulness books are just a few ideas that companies have successfully implemented.
5. Health Screenings and Check-Ups
You may consider inviting health specialists to come into the workplace to offer health checkups for your staff between their breaks. When work gets busy and the doctors seem miles away, it can be a good idea to conduct essential health tests and antiviral shots in the office. Consider inviting in a health specialist for COVID-19 jabs, Flu jabs, or even B12 infusions to improve employees' health and make them feel much more protected against illness.
6. Educate and Raise Awareness
Host workshops, seminars, or webinars on topics related to health and wellness. Topics could include nutrition, stress management, mindfulness, or the importance of regular exercise. Providing employees with the knowledge and tools to make informed choices about their health empowers them to take action.
7. Encourage Breaks and Physical Activity
Taking breaks is an important part of the working day. Giving your brain time away from any given task will give you the best chance of performing your best and avoiding burnout. Encourage the importance of taking breaks in your workforce. Although some employees can take advantage of this, make sure that they know that you can trust them to take a reasonable amount of break based on when they feel it is necessary. You should also encourage your workforce to get outside walking during their breaks. Physical activity is important when most of the day is spent on the best of the best office chairs.
8. Healthy Catering Options
When meetings are arranged with staff and clients, make sure that there are healthy snacks readily available. This can be anything from fruits, to whole grain snacks, to natural fruit juices, avoid the office snack jar filled with biscuits and make room for snacks that will better the health of your employees. Of course, the workforce deserves a treat now and then, so keep it healthy for most of the month, and bring in the sugar stuff and skinny cocktails for the last working day of the month! Payday well spent.
9. Mental Health Support
Recognise that mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being. Provide access to mental health resources, such as counselling services or Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Create a stigma-free environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns.
10. Employee Feedback and Involvement
Make sure that your employees have regular, actionable feedback to help them avoid overthinking about their position in the company. Mental health can decline for staff when they feel out of the loop of what is going on in the business. This can lead to rumination and questioning of their positions of security. Arrange for frequent meetings and individual feedback meetings to open up a two-way conversation about what staff are doing well, what to improve on, and what they think should be improved in the company's structure.
11. Set Realistic Expectations
While it's important to encourage healthier lifestyle choices, it's equally crucial to set realistic expectations. Recognize that each employee has different needs and constraints. Avoid creating an environment where employees feel pressured to meet certain health standards. Instead, focus on providing support and resources for their individual journeys.
12. Celebrate Achievements
Celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of employees who make positive lifestyle changes. Whether it's losing weight, quitting smoking, or achieving a fitness milestone, recognizing their efforts reinforces the importance of well-being within your organisation.