A healthy working environment is essential for fostering increased productivity, happier employees, lower absenteeism and all-round wellbeing of the business. The good news is that it’s neither hard nor expensive to make some small changes that will have a great and immediate impact.
Here are some simple steps to help guide you:
1. Promote a work-life fit.
The term more commonly known as work-life balance may be a myth. Work-life balance implies that you divide personal and work related tasks equally. Calling it work-life fit allows people to “see the possibilities, instead of focusing on what they can’t have.” – According to work culture strategist Cali Yost.
Regardless of how you view it, praising those who arrive early and work late, or expecting them to work from home in the evenings, hurts your company in the long run. Without a healthy work-life fit, productivity is likely to decline, and employees may end up suffering from burn out.
Research also suggests that there is a point where longer hours result in less productivity and greater errors, costing companies more as a result.
To avoid burn out and decreased productivity, insist employees take regular vacations where they are able to unplug from the office. Don’t expect everyone to answer their emails around the clock.
Encourage everyone to develop a rich, full life outside of the office. People who engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and take time to care for themselves, make better co-workers.
2. Discuss mental health in the workplace.
Don’t be afraid to bring up issues related to stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. Make it clear to everyone that they are not alone, and that mental health is everyone’s responsibility.
Educate managers about the signs of mental health problems and train them to respond appropriately and ensure the right processes are in place to deal with it.
3. Invest in supportive furniture
A British study reported that people there spend up to nine hours a day sitting down – with much of this sedentary time associated with work and commuting. With 8.9 million working days in the UK lost to work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2016-17, the importance of investing in ergonomic chairs – and encouraging staff to maintain good posture – cannot be underestimated.
There are many other health issues, both physical and mental, associated with this sedentary lifestyle across the globe. Companies that encourage their people to remain active, take walks, join a gym, and facilitate fun group activities, will benefit enormously in the long term.
4. Put on some music
Listening to music triggers the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, putting us in a better mood.
Music can also be a great motivator and concentration aid – particularly if you work in a busy, open-plan environment.
5. Offer free fruit
Ditch the traditional workplace ‘cake altar’ and offer your employees free fruit to snack on instead.
6. Deploy good lighting
Natural light is preferred by most workers – and especially for migraine suffers, who may find that harsh fluorescent lighting triggers their attacks. Make sure that lights are positioned so they don’t reflect off other objects, as it can cause eye strain and headaches.
7. Make wellness a priority.
Exercise, healthy eating, and participation in leisure activities are a few simple ways to build mental as well as physical strength and health.
Do not underestimate this one simple point and make it a priority to help people develop good habits. Whether you offer incentives to employees who participate in wellness programs or you offer free gym memberships, make wellness a top priority in your organisation.
8. Provide in-service events.
Provide employees with in-service trainings on self-care, stress management, and resilience.
Hiring a specialist to provide half-day workshops a few times a year could go a long way toward preventing problems and emphasising the importance of building healthy strategies into our daily life.
Interested in a customised workshop about how to create a healthy workplace? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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