How To Promote Employee Health And Wellness At Your Workplace

According to data from the 2017 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, presenteeism and sickness-related absences cost the UK economy about £77.5 billion annually. Indeed, poor productivity and sick days are costly for every company, so it is prudent to have a plan to promote your workers’ health and wellbeing. Please consider these points if you wish to learn more about encouraging employee health and wellness at work.

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  1. Encourage workers to form friendships

Building lasting friendships is undoubtedly one of the most fulfiling aspects of life and one of the most effective wellness strategies you can promote. Employee engagement is low these days, so you can get your staff to care more about their jobs by encouraging them to foster friendships at work. Feeling supported, appreciated, and safe in the workplace can boost performance and productivity significantly. Also, social interactions at work can result in oxytocin release, decreasing anxiety, stress, and depression while increasing calm and happiness. 

Thankfully, there is no shortage of ways to facilitate deeper connections for your employees. You can encourage team rituals and traditions to give staff a sense of belonging and implement a new hire buddy system. Also, you can start office-wide social media channels dedicated to sharing personal interests and have an annual offsite to foster camaraderie through various team-building activities.

  1. Discourage long chair times

The British Heart Foundation’s research indicates that Brits spend about 67 hours weekly either seated or sedentary, leading to inactivity for up to three out of seven days. However, the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle have been proven by repeated research, so it is critical to ensure that your employees spend minimal time seated at work. One idea is to install versatile standing desks as employee workstations to promote a standing culture at work. In addition, invest in cycle chairs and under-desk treadmills to keep your employees active while at work. Furthermore, encourage stand-up meetings and ask your team to each lunch away from their desks so they can move about in the office. Finally, make it mandatory for your workers to take regular breaks during the day, and run 10 minutes stretch programs twice daily to prevent employees from sitting in their chairs for long.

  1. Provide nutritious food

Diet is undoubtedly crucial to overall wellness, so it makes sense to provide workers with the best nutrition choices possible if your company has an employee cafeteria. Consequently, consider swapping all unhealthy foods and snacks in your vending machine for healthier options to promote a healthy work environment. For instance, you can replace all sugary drinks in your staff fridge with water and juices and replace candy with granola bars. Also, offer a fruit bowl with great fruit options to encourage workers to consume fruits as healthy snacks. Furthermore, purchase healthy lunches for all team meetings to foster a culture of healthy eating at work.

If your enterprise does not have a cafeteria, consider offering free meals to your hard-working employees, as well as gift cards and discounts to health food stores instead of fast-food restaurants. Likewise, you can invest in an on-site fridge to encourage your workers to bring healthy lunches to work and avoid the take-out temptation. Finally, allow your staff to take their full lunch breaks to increase their ability to appreciate meals fully. This way, they can avoid mindless eating and overeating to remain productive and in good health.

  1. Promote a smoke-free workplace

The NHS identifies smoking as one of the biggest causes of illness and death in the UK, with about 78,000 people dying annually. Therefore, it is prudent to promote a smoke-free workplace to keep employees healthier and safer. For this, you can ensure that your workplace and all company vehicles are smoke-free and design a smoke-free company events policy. Additionally, encourage your workers to join a ‘quit smoking’ program and subsidise the programs if possible. Furthermore, you can encourage your workers to speak to their doctors about quitting smoking and sponsor nicotine replacement patches, therapy, or other aids to quit smoking. 

A smoke-free workplace protects non-smoking employees from the harmful side effects of secondhand smoke. Also, this work environment can prevent non-smoking staff from picking up the habit. Finally, a smoke-free workplace can help you reduce employee sick days and medical costs while boosting productivity, so it is worth promoting for your employees’ best interests.

  1. Make fitness choices convenient for workers

Employees with access to gyms and other fitness facilities are more likely to use them. So, it is no surprise that several top business parks provide these fitness facilities as part of the lease agreement. However, you can designate a part of your office building as your company’s fitness centre if you aren’t in such a high-end business park. An on-site gym enables employees to work out more frequently and together, fostering a stronger team bond. In addition, you can provide group classes that educate staff on the advantages of exercising and diet before and after work to give them incentives to be at work and enjoy their time there. 

Also, you can offer memberships to a local gym, spa, or Yoga class if you lack enough space for a dedicated fitness centre. For instance, companies like Microsoft have a yearly reimbursement program to help cover fitness programs and gym memberships for employees. These incentives, rewards, and benefits are excellent ways to boost motivation and health and wellness in the workplace, so keep this in mind.

  1. Offer workplace wellness rooms

Wellness rooms have multiple purposes and have been introduced at many business premises in recent years due to the growing concerns about employee health and wellness. These rooms are private areas that your staff can use for migraine or sensory relief, medication administration, and meditation. In addition, new mothers can use this space for nursing, and other employees can find relief from stress in this room, especially if there are massage chairs. The increasingly wellness-inclined employee will appreciate a great perk like a wellness room, so offering one at your workplace is a great way to boost employee morale while enhancing their physical and mental wellbeing.

  1. Stay on top of employees’ mental health

Findings from a Lime Insurance survey indicate that less than 16% of UK workers said their mental health was well supported at work. This statistic is quite worrying, given that mental health is a critical component of overall wellness. Therefore, creating mental health benefits for your workers will be great as part of a more comprehensive health insurance plan. These mental health benefits can also come through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a more general service that helps workers solve problems related to finances, stress, and even non-work conflicts. Additionally, you can offer rebates to workers who see counsellors, train your managers in mental health strategies, and promote positive workplace communication. 

Furthermore, have plans to prevent bullying and unprofessional behaviour in your office and often run employee polls to gauge morale. Unmanaged stress and mental exhaustion can result in sleep deprivation, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and much bigger problems in the long run. Therefore, it would be best to stay on top of your workers’ mental health to prevent these issues and guarantee their wellness.

  1. Develop workplace wellness programs

Employee wellness programs are designed by employers to improve staff health and help individual workers overcome specific health-related issues. Consequently, it is critical to have an excellent employee wellness plan to improve your workers’ health and save your business money over time. This program may involve screening your workers for health risks through health risk assessments or biometric scans. In addition, you can utilise on-site health coaches to promote healthy lifestyles through dietary and weight loss counselling. 

You can also include fitness trackers and workplace fitness competitions as part of your wellness programs. The most significant benefit of a wellness program in a workplace is improving workers’ physical and mental health by helping them adopt excellent health habits. In addition, your workers can enjoy reduced risks of health problems and chronic diseases that may affect their productivity at work and overall quality of life.

  1. Create a flexible working environment

Work-life balance is undoubtedly a concept that has caught on in the professional world. However, some experts believe that companies should strive for flexibility over balance since achieving a perfect work-life balance may not be feasible. Therefore, you can explore ways to eliminate or reduce employee stress to boost morale and show your workers how concerned you are about their wellbeing. Consequently, consider allowing remote working options if possible to enable your employees to operate in more conducive areas outside traditional office space. Additionally, you can offer flexible working schedules, outdoor workspaces, and paid time off to your workers. These benefits help reduce stress, promote health and achieve flexibility for your workers. For instance, if your workers can work remotely or create their schedules, they don’t have to feel stressed about taking their children to the doctor, going grocery shopping, or running errands that must be completed during regular business hours. 

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