Experts, everyone from scientific experts to anthropologists to human resources specialists now agree that there really is a direct positive link between employee health and wellness (both mental and physical) and employee performance. Put simply, a happier, healthier employee is a more productive one, which in turn makes them a more valuable one and an asset any business will be glad to have. Therefore much of the onus is on the company to ensure ‘A Happy Employee is a Healthy Employee’.
Every year employers all over the world literally lose millions because their employees are ill, unproductive or simply unhappy. In one recent study conducted across Fortune 500 companies in the United States it was estimated that those companies lose not just billions but a half a trillion dollars due to a lack of employee productivity and motivation, and it’s a tale repeated to some extent or another across the globe.
This is all very interesting, as well as disturbing for employers. But the trick is that employees really do need some help from them to be as healthy and happy as they should be in order to be as productive as they can be. But just how can they do that? Here are some very important first steps that can be implemented with relative ease:
Create a Brighter, Cleaner Workspace
The average employee in an office setting spends 8-10 hours a day, five days a week, in their workspace, more time than they spend (awake) at home. Therefore if that space is an unpleasant or perhaps worse still an unhygienic place to be then the employee is hardly likely to be particularly happy or healthy. And it’s hard to get motivated to do your best work in a dingy, miserable office. here are some very easy tweaks that can be made to any office space that make a surprisingly big difference.
Lighting: Low lighting, dull dark colours and ‘a closed in’ environment all really do drain your employees’ energy on a daily basis. Ensure that everyone is working in a ‘layered’ lighting environment that includes both ambient and task lighting and the overall colour scheme is a light, bright one. Gray paint might be cheap but it’s miserable stuff to stare at day after day.
Personality: Allowing employees to personalise their workspace can make a surprisingly big difference to the way they feel about working in it. We don’t mean allowing them to rebuild the office or anything as drastic as that but permitting personal photos, inoffensive posters and maybe even a pot plant or too are all good ideas.
Cleanliness: Even if they ‘just’ work at a computer for most of the day an employee’s personal workspace can become pretty grimy pretty quickly. make sure that employees have access top basic cleaning supplies (compressed air to clean out keyboards, antiseptic wipes to clean phones and desk etc.) and you’ll be helping prevent the spread of those nagging colds and flus that can result in so many lost days.
Encourage Healthy Practices at Work
Most of a company’s employees probably do wish that they could implement steps to create a healthier, happier them but feel their workplace actually impedes them from reaching that goal. Their desk and chair are perhaps such a bad fit for them that they leave work everyday with an aching back and a sore, stiff neck. Or they are under such a time crunch that they feel obligated to lunch on quick takeout at their desk rather than doing what they might prefer, enjoying a lunch from home in the break room followed by a nice little stroll around the company campus.
These are things that only an employer can really change. Make sure that every employee has a workspace that is ergonomically friendly and that they are educated about the importance of proper posture etc. And encourage employees to take a proper lunch break, however busy they might be. That short break can be all they need to regroup and ‘recharge’ so the work that they do later is far better and worth much more.
Some of the companies with the best levels of employee productivity and employee retention have one big thing in common; they value the positive effects that employee recognition and social activities can have on their workforce in general.
The strategies that these companies use are not complicated either. An employee of the month award, a company picnic, a team building fun run staged to benefit a favourite local charity, all of these things lift both morale and general job satisfaction without too much effort on either party’s part. Make it part of Your company policy to ensure that ‘A Happy Employee is a Healthy Employee’ and quickly see the benefits via your profitability reports.