How do you feel when your employees come in sick, spreading germs all around the workplace, maybe even to your customers? Have you ever had an employee who seems to collapse halfway through the day and drags around for hours, lowering morale throughout the entire building? If you’ve ever had to cope with unhealthy employees, then you know that healthy employees are vital to the success of any small business. When your team is healthy, you experience fewer absences, reduced health insurance rates, higher morale, and increased productivity. When you encourage your employees to pursue a healthier lifestyle, you create a positive work environment for your entire staff while also elevating how your company is viewed by clients and customers. Here are some easy yet effective ways to promote healthy habits for your employees.
How Long Should a Break Period Be, Anyway?
Offering longer break periods may seem counterproductive, but approach this with a large-scale perspective. Overworked employees are less productive, even if they don’t realize it. Even a quick break can revitalize the mind and body, giving workers renewed energy to help them work more efficiently throughout the course of the workday. Losing a few extra minutes of work time to longer breaks isn’t going to make a major difference in your company’s bottom line, but it can work wonders in keeping your team smiling throughout the day. After all, happy employees work more productively than tired ones.
Do You Prefer Yoga or Softball?
Whether you hold on-site yoga classes, participate in a fundraising run, or play a game of softball with another local business, exercising as a group is a fantastic way to encourage exercise while fostering an uplifting work environment. Group activities motivate people who may not normally exercise on their own to get active, which can lead to better short- and long-term habits. Team-building activities help your employees work together more effectively, and they create a sense of community, unity, and kinship among your team. To get your team excited about group activities, offer prizes. A little friendly competition makes things more exciting, and it gives participants that bit of extra motivation needed to push hard.
Promote exercise as well by providing a treadmill or stationary bike to motivate employees to get their blood pumping during their breaks. Light exercise throughout the day can help people to feel more active, leading to a more productive office. If you don’t have the space for exercise equipment at your office, offer gym memberships as a perk for your team. These days, many local gyms are quite inexpensive, and some facilities even offer discounts for corporate memberships.
What’s for Lunch? Or Snack?
All too often, peckish employees munch on candy bars and potato chips simply because those are the options that are readily available. Stock your office’s vending machine and break room with healthy foods so people can satisfy their hunger without filling up on empty calories. Snacks such as nuts, granola bars, crackers, and pretzels are excellent options.
Here’s a concept that might shock you: What about providing free snacks and even lunch to your employees? Lots of companies are starting to do just that. Sure, it’s a bit of an investment, but the long-term benefits can be quite rewarding. Besides keeping your team healthier, offering free food shows that you care about your employees, and it makes them feel that they work at a company that’s a cut above the rest. Don’t be surprised to overhear employees bragging about the perk. And the benefits continues. Employees who are happy with their jobs don’t quit as often, which keeps your turnover rates down, reducing the extremely high expenses of seeking out, hiring, and training new employees.
Are Your Employees Afraid to Call In Sick?
All too often, employees tough it out when they’re sick because they don’t want to be punished for missing work — whether through actual discipline or because of lost wages. While you don’t want your employees to feel like they can call in sick whenever they don’t feel like coming in, workers who are genuinely ill need to rest up and heal. Rethink your policy if it punishes employees harshly for calling in sick. Paid sick days are another one of those perks that employees really appreciate, so look at it as an investment in your employees’ health as well as their job satisfaction.
Is It Still Work If You’re at Home? (Hint: Yes)
Working at home lets employees get their work done in a stress-free environment, which promotes better mental and physical health. Even if you can’t offer full-time remote work, allowing team members to work from home one or two days per week really helps to improve their work-life balance. Letting employees telecommute also frees up valuable space and resources at the office, creating a better environment for your on-site team.
It’s Your Chance to Be a Role Model
If you want your employees to embrace healthier habits, you need to lead by example. You’re taking steps to encourage people to be more conscious of their health, so embark on the journey with them. Instead of just telling your team what to do, motivate them by doing it yourself. Be a leader in creating a culture of health. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time for your employees to come around. Implementing wellness programs at work is the first step. From there, anything is possible.