Unhealthy and stressed employees are more likely to be late to work, take a greater number of sick days, have a greater intention to quit and are less productive whilst at work. The ideas listed below are simple strategies that can be implemented to increase employee wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.
1. Get your employees moving
• In general, active employees have fewer health problems, experience less stress and are more productive.
• Encourage employees to be active by starting a weekly group exercise program, such as yoga.
• Keep employees interested and engaged through competitive fitness challenges, e.g. split employees into groups, have them track their daily steps with pedometers, and provide a prize for the group with the most steps at the end of the week.
• Integrate exercise equipment into the office, e.g. place treadmills in workstations, to keep workers alert and active whilst they work.
Make it easy for employees to stay active outside of work by offering discounted or sponsored gym memberships.
2. Promote healthy eating
• Common workplace snacks such as muffins, cakes and chocolate bars are often very high in sugar. These types of foods elicit huge spikes in blood sugar, followed by subsequent drop-offs, which hamper cognitive function and concentration.
• Ensure that your employees keep steady blood sugar levels throughout the day by providing them with healthy snacks, such as fruit, for morning and afternoon tea.
• Make it easier for employees to access healthy food by negotiating a deal with a local sandwich shop or deli to provide discounted meals and/or free delivery.
3. Bring the outdoors in
• In most workplaces it is not practical for employees to work outside in the fresh air, so bring nature into the office through plants.
• Plants improve air quality and are aesthetically pleasing, which helps to reduce stress levels and increase concentration.
• Place plants around the office or save space by fixing vertical gardens to walls.
4. Encourage social interaction
• Social interaction increases collaboration in the workplace and gives employees opportunities to form supportive relationships with one another.
• Social support is highly effective in reducing stress, so encourage your co-workers to interact by allowing them to talk freely in the workplace.
• Provide employees more opportunities to connect and socialise by hosting a group lunch once a week in the office, or organise a fun after-hours social activity once a month, such as bowling or a picnic.
5. Reward your workers
• Employees that do not feel that their efforts are being appreciated or recognised are likely to have lower motivation, decreased productivity and a higher intention to quit.
• Show the employee that they are appreciated by sending a personal thank you note or by thanking the employee in person for their efforts.
• Recognise excellent achievements by acknowledging and describing them in front of the employee’s co-workers or team.
By integrating these simple tips into the workplace you should achieve a happier, healthier and more productive workforce in no time!
Article written by ALYSSA HUNT
Alyssa is a Psychology student from Macquarie University.