Supply your employee break room, kitchen, or cafeteria with complimentary or low-cost healthy snacks. Not all foods are equal, but some foods have been proven to boost memory, cognition, mood, and creative thinking. Make sure your employees have daily access to some or all of the following brain-boosting snacks:
- Fresh berries (contain tannins that protect brain cells and help improve memory)
- Trail mix with dried fruits, whole grains, and nuts (packed with protein and soluble fiber that helps the brain work at the optimal level)
- Vegetables (carrots and celery are great brainpower boosters)
- Sunflower seeds (high in thiamine, which boosts cognition and memory)
- Pumpkin Seeds(high in Zinc, which enhances critical thinking and improves memory)
- Green tea (both relaxing and stimulating)
- Dark chocolate (powerful antioxidants and natural stimulants that increase cognition, mood, and concentration)
A recent study by a Dutch organization determined that a 1% increase of employees that commute to work on a bicycle saves employers €27M per year because employees who bike to work have fewer sick days.
Provide incentives for your employees to commute with bicycles; they’ll enjoy greater overall health, get sick less often and they will lower their stress levels as well. Install secure facilities for them to park their bikes or offer modest cash bonuses every month to bike commuters. Work with local bike shops to defray the cost of purchasing bicycles, to encourage employees to join the program. If budgets allow, create changing rooms, and install showers.
Encourage employees to be more productive and to enjoy their work more by offering flextime hours. The benefits of staggering work hours are many: employees can arrive or leave so that they avoid rush hours, they can schedule personal appointments at their convenience and they can easily take a day off to handle an emergency. As long as they are able to complete their work responsibilities, and staggered arrivals and departures don’t affect your company’s operating hours, flextime schedules will benefit both your company and your employees. Workplace studies have found that:
- There is less employee turnover when flextime is offered.
- Employees regard flextime as a valuable benefit (a benefit that costs you nothing to provide)
- Workers believe flextime improves their life-work balance and reduces stress
- Surveys have found that employees who have the most control over their work hours are more satisfied and happy
Keep it Clean
A clean workplace means employees are less susceptible to exposure to germs and to catching colds and the flu. In fact, you can calculate just how much employee illness is costing your company, using this calculator.
Bacteria are spread primarily by touch. Keep containers of disposable disinfectant wipes near phones, copy and fax machines, computers, and all other office equipment that employees share. Make sure the restrooms are always well stocked with hand soap and clean towels. Check up on the cleaning crew periodically to make sure restrooms, break rooms, and kitchen or cafeteria areas are being properly cleaned.
Health is affected in many ways. You may be surprised to know the benefits of color and music on employee’s moods and productivity. Just a few small changes can go a long way to improving the health of your employees. Color therapy has been used successfully for centuries, starting in Ancient Egypt. Colors affect emotions and decision making: orange stimulates creativity, yellow motivates, blue is calming and red energizes. And music does more than “soothe the savage beast,” it can increase mental stimulation, enhance mood and communication, and yes, soothe the beast, or in modern parlance, reduce stress. Music played in an office should be soft and soothing.
Add green plants to the office. Plants aren’t just visually appealing, they help clean air pollutants, and they add oxygen and humidity to the (often stale) office air. Encourage employees to bring in their own plants, or add pots of Ivy, Chrysanthemum, and Palms.