A healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce. Employees who take care of themselves call in sick less and accomplish more while they’re on the clock. They’re also not as prone to debilitating conditions that force them from their job altogether.
If you want to encourage increased well-being among your staff members, you can make a significant difference. The policies you enact and enforce can either improve wellness or harm it. With that in mind, consider the following nine practices and adjust accordingly.
If you tune into the morning news during cold and flu season, you’ll hear the same message repeated: “Stay home when you’re sick.” Even so, many employees force themselves to clock in anyway, even if doing so risks infecting the rest of the staff. But why?
If they don’t receive PTO, calling in may very well mean coming up short on rent. Due to wage stagnation, real average hourly earnings peaked 45 years ago. The average wage of $4.03 in 1973 has the same purchasing power as $23.68 per hour today — and many workers earn far less than that.
Providing a paid day off doesn’t impact your bottom line significantly. You already budgeted the wages for that day. However, giving sick leave can help you avoid having your entire staff call in during crunch time due to a flu outbreak.
Encourage Flexible Schedules
University of Minnesota sociology professor Phyllis Moen analyzed longitudinal data from 659 employees at Best Buy’s headquarters. She examined the impact of instituting a flexible schedule and compared changes in health-promoting behaviors under such a plan.
She discovered that employees felt less obligated to work when sick and more likely to seek medical care. They also reported less emotional exhaustion and psychological distress.
One of the most significant improvements employees reported under flextime plans is getting more Zzz’s. Human beings need seven to nine hours of sleep daily to let their muscles grow and recover. Unless your staff members fill customer-facing roles, encourage as much flexibility as possible.
Give Adequate Breaks
When staff members go hard without a break, they can experience decision fatigue, which may lead to costly errors. One study revealed that Israeli judges were more likely to pardon prisoners after taking a break than after working for a while. The reason?
As their minds grew wearier, they chose the most straightforward and safest option, saying “no” instead of considering the totality of the circumstances. You rely on your team to make the best choices for your business, so give their minds the rest they need to do so.
Expand Lunch Times
If you have five people on staff and one microwave, two or three of them could go hungry if you enforce a strict 30-minute time limit on meals. Alternately, your workers will eat at their desks, which can negatively impact productivity.
Nearly 20% of American workers already perceive that their bosses won’t think they work hard enough if they take a break at all. Enforce a policy that all employees must clock out for at least a half-hour at lunch but make the return-to-work time flexible.
Is it worth the resentment your staff will feel if you penalize them because the drive-thru lane moved too slowly?
Provide Sitting and Standing Options
You wouldn’t let your employees light up a cigarette at their desks. However, sitting for prolonged periods also creates adverse health effects. If your staff feels like they’re chained to their stations, it could shorten their lifespans.
Consider allowing staff to request inflatable fitness balls instead of standard office chairs and variable-height desks that enable them to move from sitting to standing.
The ball incorporates the core muscles and can provide significant relief to those with back conditions. Variable desks let your workers get their blood flowing but still take a load off when the need arises.
Install Bicycle Parking
You can encourage your workers to walk or bike — but where do they park the latter? You can find bike racks for relatively little, so if your building lacks such an amenity, consider the investment.
If that isn’t in the budget, ask yourself if employees can bring their rides into the building. You could potentially save money if you occupy a downtown high-rise where you pay per parking spot.
Consider an Office Fitness Center
Office fitness centers might seem like fluff on the surface. However, research indicates that each dollar you spend on employee wellness translates into $5.82 in reduced absenteeism costs.
If you have the budget, consider installing a workplace gym. If you don’t have the money, investigate partnering with nearby facilities. Many extend group discounts that can help you cut costs.
Offer Health Insurance
One 2017 survey found that 36% of the American workforce fell into the contractor category. Many small businesses embrace this classification to save money on providing employee benefits.
However, even with the ACA, this practice results in millions going without needed treatment to perform at their peak. Worse, it can lead to medical emergencies that result in bankruptcy. Since insurers don’t offer group rates to individuals, consider expanding insurance benefits to all such as dental check ups with the Dentist In Oakbrook Terrace.
Motivate Your Employees to Live More Healthfully With These Tips
When your staff is healthy and happy, they will work at their productive best. Investing in employee well-being benefits your bottom line.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow him on Twitter @theregularguidefor frequent updates!