Most people spend at least a third
of their lives in the workplace, and the relative health and happiness encountered
in daily work life greatly impacts overall productivity. Ultimately, the
overall health of any workplace environment determines how successful the
business ultimately becomes. With so much on the line, investing in the health
of one’s workforce simply makes solid financial sense.
How can savvy business owners create
a healthier workplace? While inevitably, every worker’s health depends upon
their individual habits, employers nevertheless can do much to inspire healthy
behaviors among their workers. By incorporating healthy habits into the work
day, employers inspire their employees to continue their good habits even when
off the clock.
Benefits to a Healthy Workforce
Creating a healthier workforce
results in decreased absenteeism, lower employee turnover and improved
productivity. Healthy employees make more effective use of their time while
working, suffer fewer illnesses and help employers who provide their employees with health insurance keep
In addition, healthy employees
report a greater sense of job satisfaction than those experiencing poor health.
Workplace fitness benefits demonstrates to employees that their employers truly
care about their well-being and consider them valuable business assets.
An additional benefit of
incorporating healthy workplace practices means less pressure on other
employees needing to pick up the slack during periods of high absenteeism.
Companies likewise enjoy the added benefit of
paying much less in paid sick leave time. While of course some absences remain
inevitable, when they do occur they tend to be few and far between in
workplaces who invest in employee health.
Finally, employers who make employee
health paramount avoid issues with the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). Per OSHA rules, employers have a duty to remove any known workplace
hazards to employees. As fines can be costly, employers do
well to minimize workplace dangers.
Workplace Activities to Improve
The benefits of improved employee
health convince many to adopt cleaner practices. But how to begin making your
business more fitness-friendly? And will doing so cost the company money?
Fortunately, many workplace changes
require little to no capital to implement. For example, one easy healthy fix
requires nothing more than switching up the order for the weekly Friday morning
meeting. Instead of the usual assortment of donuts and bagels, serve up
healthy fruit, yogurt and an assortment of teas. If budget allows, serve up a
buffet with protein-rich eggs and lean turkey bacon and sausage.
Because many employees lead hectic
lives full of family obligations, working out often falls to the wayside.
Instead, bring fitness into the workplace. If a staff member moonlights
teaching yoga or Zumba, offer them an incentive to lead a lunchtime workout or
a before- or after-work fitness class.
Simple ergonomic choices make
workplaces healthier for little cost. For example, providing employees
with fitness balls to use in lieu of chairs helps employees build
core strength just by sitting at their desk. Likewise, providing employees with
adjustable desks that let them move from sitting to standing at their leisure
helps them burn calories on the clock.
Provide all employees with regular
breaks and encourage good fitness habits while in the office. Allow employees
to rise from their desks whenever they feel the need to take short walks around
the office or even around the block when weather permits. As employees tend to
follow the example their boss sets, practice taking regular walk or stretch
breaks to encourage employees to do the same.
Finally, consider any office remodel
work carefully. Strive for as much natural light from windows as possible, as
this boosts both mood and creativity levels. Avoid buildings with musty smells,
as this indicates the possible presence of mold.
Toward a Fit and Healthy Work
Creating a healthy work environment
benefits business owners and their employees alike. By incorporating healthy
practices, business owners save money on absenteeism and health insurance,
while employees enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction. Success takes teamwork
and tremendous effort, yet comes far more easily with a happy and healthy work