Having healthy and happy employees means better productivity, which in turn means more efficiencies and savings in costs. It’s in everyone’s best interests that healthy practices are considered, not only for productivity but to make employees feel valued and like their needs are understood and met in the workplace.
There are many ways to make employees feel heard and valued, but often, some of the most important ones are overlooked because they don’t seem as obvious. Here are some simple ways your office can encourage better employee health and healthier practices at work.
Sitting all day is really bad for your long-term health, so having an environment that promotes movement rather than stagnation is key. Have standing desks around the office, or replace employee workstations with desks that have adjustable heights so they can sit or stand throughout the day.
Encourage stand up meetings instead of meetings around a table in a boardroom. If you really want to get people moving while they work, install some treadmill desks too.
Taking time away from screens is important, as is taking a break from work every once in a while to refresh your brain and give yourself a chance to detach. Encouraging employees to take breaks away from their desks at lunch or to get up and stretch every so often during the day can improve focus, rather than be a distraction.
Employees who come back from a break feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the next part of the project, or can look at a problem from earlier with a new mind. Overworked and stressed employees are tired, unproductive, and unhappy, which isn’t something any manager wants.
Encourage healthy eating and drinking
Having a fully stocked mini-fridge or pantry is great, but it’s even better if those snacks and drinks offered are healthy. Rather than filling the shelves with pop and candy, have juice and fruit, veggies, or trail mix readily available.
As for the kitchen, provide a fridge so employees can bring lunch from home instead of eating fast food or takeout every day. Consider getting a juicer, blender, or toaster oven so people can make lunches and healthy drinks as well.
Also, having watercoolers around the office promotes good hydration (and encourages people to get up from their desks for a quick stretch!).
Have ergonomic furniture
Uncomfortable furniture is horrible for posture, mental health, and productivity. Someone who sits in an uncomfortable chair all day can experience back pain, stiffness, and muscle strain, not to mention working at a desk or computer that’s uncomfortable and awkward.
Repetitive strain injuries are all too common, and they make people miserable and unhappy at work, so avoid these serious health problems by having ergonomic chairs, desks, keyboards, and keeping monitors at proper eye-level.
Have good perks
If your company can afford to, adding employee perks to encourage healthy habits outside of work can improve morale and promote better living.
Subsidizing a gym membership or fitness classes, or including some sort of exercise session, like a yoga class or quick boot camp workout, during the lunch hour or at quitting time can do wonders for people’s motivation to be healthier and more active.
You could even gamify it or make it a friendly competition in the office to see who can walk to work the most days out of the month, or who can exercise for at least 20 minutes a day for the most consecutive number of days, and reward the winners.