When the sound of a telephone rings out across the workplace first thing in the morning, it’s almost certain to be one thing – a staff member calling in sick.
It impacts colleagues who now need to provide cover. It impacts on service levels provided to customers. But more importantly, it’s also a warning sign of a potentially unhealthy workplace.
The implications are serious. Illness-related absenteeism costs US businesses an estimated $250 billion every year.
A healthy workplace improves employee satisfaction, lifts productivity and increases business performance. So, we’re pleased to list five simple tips to breathe new life into your workplace health and wellbeing – from top to toe.
1. Mind over matter
Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical. Generally, if the mind is strong, the body will follow.
Enforce the taking of proper breaks, so that employees have adequate time to recharge their mental batteries. Offer independent counselling services for employees to call upon in times of need.
Promote positive behaviors and affirm the organization’s commitment to workplace health and wellbeing through custom wallpapers which staff see throughout the day.
2. Food for thought
Everyone knows the old adage about life that you get out what you put in. It mostly refers to effort, but equally applies to food.
Fostering better workplace health can be as simple as having fresh fruit delivered weekly to your offices and making these available free to staff. Have water coolers prominently placed in all locations – there’s no excuse for sugary carbonated soft drinks when water is so readily available!
If dispelling those mid-morning munchies entirely is too unpalatable, services like SnackNation deliver diverse, healthy snacks direct to your offices, and can ensure that while staff are fueling up they’re not fattening up.
3. Make yourself at home
Comfort is one of the biggest, yet most neglected, factors when it comes to workplace wellbeing. Discomfort affects employees emotionally through increased feelings of unease, plus physically through muscle and nerve strains.
Poor posture due to incorrect workstation placement can aggravate an employee’s conditions, resulting in greater risk of absenteeism.
It makes good sense for employers to invest in personalized workstation optimization. This professional audit will advise on correct screen height to avoid eyestrain, optimum chair level, use of footrests or other cushioning, and so on.
4. Take a load off
The link between physical activity and workplace productivity is becoming increasingly accepted. Research has demonstrated that employees with higher rates of physical activity have less work absenteeism – in some cases, nearly 75% less.
Got a meeting scheduled tomorrow? Make it a walking meeting, ideally outdoors, and enjoy the fresh perspectives as you enjoy the fresh air. Exercise is always more fun with company, so get a group together for lunchtime walks or yoga sessions.
Your HR department can look at introducing workplace wellness programs, negotiate a discount for staff at nearby gyms, or offer an incentive to promote walking,cycling or running to work.
5. Right on target
Wellbeing is personal and can be different for everyone. Responsible employers seek to find out how their staff really are. How do they rate their health and wellbeing now? What would they realistically like it to be? What changes in the workplace could help them bridge this gap?
A staff survey is an unintrusive way to find out this information. It demonstrates genuine empathy on the part of employers, as well as unearths areas of potential workplace improvement which could benefit everyone.
Orion Advisor Services recently introduced a brilliant but simple idea to find out how staff felt about their day – plus take a timely temperature check on office morale.
A healthier, happier workplace is a successful one. For employers, small steps in employee wellbeing can deliver big results in business wellbeing – and make those early-morning ringing telephones a thing of the past.
Read the full version of this article at Inside HR.