All work and no play is pass?!

Posted by David John Ellery on August 1st, 2016

Today, good employers understand that greater benefit ensues from encouraging employees to achieve a work-life balance, get sufficient exercise and eat healthy.

An Australian survey estimates that the healthiest Australian employees are three times more productive at work than their colleagues.

Productive and engaged, I would add. That is why it makes sense for companies to promote employee well being.

Physical wellbeing is one side of the equation. A healthy mind is the other. Businesses that adopt a culture of wellness focus on both. What does this entail?

Promote a better lifestyle at work

Poor lifestyle choices like fast food, inactivity and excess body weight eventually cut into work time and bottom lines in the form of sick leave, higher health care costs, extra manpower costs and (God forbid) the loss of customers. As an employer, you can limit the working day to eight hours to help your employees set aside time for exercise and family, two great de-stressors.

You can also prioritise fitness and healthy eating during working hours. There’s nothing like investing in a few pieces of exercise equipment like a treadmill and a cycle to get employees moving at work. Encourage employees to take a quick walk or cycle instead of clustering about a coffee machine during breaks. Taking 10 minute exercise breaks may be more sustainable for many of your busiest employees than setting aside an hour or more for a workout.

Some of your employees would value a gym membership, especially if their financial commitments have relegated such memberships to a lower spot on their priority list. Consider pitching in with fully or partially sponsored memberships. If that is out of your league, tot up how many of your employees would be willing to invest in a limited membership and negotiate a better group rate with a nearby gym.

Arrange walking meetings in a nearby open space to energise people and (literally) encourage a free flow of ideas. Walk down office hallways during one-on-one sessions.

Healthy eating is even more important than getting some exercise. Stock the office pantry with healthy foods—think fresh fruit and salad ingredients. If employees are in the habit of ordering in, prominently display a list of nearby sources of healthy foods. Be a good role model, eat healthy yourself.

A top down approach works better to create health-promoting habits. Introduce incentives for managers who lead by example in developing healthy dietary and exercise habits.

3 tips to create a healthy workplace

Congested, messy spaces cause stress while organised places boost productivity. A small office needn’t be a messy office. Use filing systems and storage furniture to keep the place clutter-free.

Introduce plants to your office—ideally one per square metre to improve the quality of air and reduce stress. Not to mention that plants enhance indoor aesthetics.

Sitting for long hours kills, it is bad for joint and digestion, no doubt about that. But the jury is still out on the long term health impact of standing workstations. Some workers find standing less of a strain, so you might like to try them out?

Healthy minds in a positive work environment

A positive, encouraging environment tells workers that the management is genuinely interested in their wellbeing; it goes a long way towards keeping employees happy and engaged.

Encourage workers by showing appreciation for the work they do, including them in decision-making, creating opportunities for intellectual and professional growth, and respecting diversity, quality and teamwork.

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David John Ellery

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David John Ellery
Joined: June 28th, 2016
Articles Posted: 11

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