Employee Health: A Vital Factor For Workplace Productivity
“Good health is good business.” – Paul Dreschler, Chairman, Bibby Line Group
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. People must have a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep to live a healthy life. They must also live in a stress-free environment and have good hygiene.
For a business to succeed, its employees must be fit and healthy. For great workplace productivity, the health of your employees is the determining factor. Studies show that healthy employees tend to be more productive and more hardworking.
Creating a work culture that supports employees’ health through all aspects of their lives has various health benefits. Emphasizing employee health and well-being is very important. It contributes massively to overall employee engagement within the business.
In recent times, the topic of employee well-being has become popular, making it significant in the corporate culture. So, let’s delve into the details and learn how organizations function and prioritize employee health.
What Does Employee Health Mean?
Employee health is a term used to describe the overall health of an organization's employees. It encompasses all aspects and dimensions of health and wellness, including physical and mental health.
Employee health or employee well-being is one of the most critical aspects of an organization. Healthy employees are widely considered the pillars of organizational success. Many employers worldwide realize this and put the health of their employees first by introducing various wellness programs and initiatives.
Occupational health and employee health are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Occupational health refers to health issues that a worker might face, such as injuries or accidents.
What is the role of Employee Health?
Employee health plays a direct role in the overall success of the company. It determines how well a company is equipped to meet adversity and overcome various challenges.
Healthy employees are more likely to perform well and be more productive than sick, unhealthy employees. Such employees are also less likely to fall prey to health problems and incur fewer healthcare costs for their employers.
In contrast, neglecting employee health conditions can often lead to them struggling with stress and burnout. This further results in lost productivity and weak job performance.
Employee wellness can also improve a company's image in the eyes of its customers and competitors, not just in terms of profits and savings.
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Why is Employee Health Important?
As mentioned, encouraging good health among your employees is very important. Doing so will increase productivity to a great extent, and it will help your organization thrive. Also, the overall well-being of your employees will be displayed on its own.
The rationale behind employee health is to allow employees and organizations to adapt and thrive in adverse situations. It is to foster a positive work environment where employees find a learning curve and grow as individuals for the company's betterment.
In addition, caring about employees’ health and providing them with a healthy and flexible work environment will earn the company employee loyalty and retention. Employees will anyway value a company that is concerned with their well-being.
Benefits of a Healthy Workforce
Your employees need to be healthy to feel good. Only then will they perform their best and also encourage others around them. Healthier employees are happier, which resonates with the rest of the workforce.
Having good health in the workplace motivates employees. It also reduces absenteeism. Most importantly, it displays your concern for your employees' overall health and well-being.
In today's world, people look for jobs in companies that care about the health of their workforce. When you focus on employee health in your organization, you are better able to attract top talent and also retain your best employees.
By promoting good health among employees, you can prevent illness among your employees. You can also make them more aware of their bodies and minds. They are more likely to stay away from bad health habits like smoking and drinking.
As a result, such employees suffer from fewer health problems, helping save health insurance and healthcare costs in the long run.
Healthy employees are less likely to suffer from fatigue, stress, and physical and mental burnout. Also, such employees are better able to avoid workplace injuries and accidents.
Summing up, here are a few employer and employee benefits from a healthy workplace-
Ways to Encourage Employee Health
The easiest way to encourage employee health is by introducing health initiatives. These initiatives can also act as team-building practices. They lead to a positive company culture and improve employee engagement and productivity.
Here are some measures to encourage and improve employee health -
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1. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise has many benefits to health in general. It lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol and improves cardiovascular health. It also strengthens your bones and joints and increases energy levels. Overall, it creates a healthier state of mind.
Exercise impacts the health of an individual as much as nutrition does. Promoting regular exercise among your employees has many benefits.
Sitting for long hours and sedentary lifestyles are two of the main reasons for bad health in workplaces.
Avoid long sitting hours at the workplace. It causes many health effects, such as slowed metabolism and bad posture. It also affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Also, encourage your employees to use the stairs instead of elevators. Call in a fitness expert to conduct seminars on physical exercise in your workplace. Provide your employees with gym memberships as rewards and gifts. Advocate cycling by creating cycle-to-work schemes in your workplace. Also, encourage employees to practice yoga and meditation regularly.
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2. Good Nutritional Habits
You cannot underestimate the value of good nutrition when promoting health among your employees. Good nutrition helps to maintain the energy and concentration levels of your employees. Promoting a nutritional diet creates a healthy work environment, improving work-life balance and increasing overall productivity.
Poor nutrition impacts health significantly. It can affect the quality of life of your employees. It can create risks of illness and health problems, cause stress and reduce productivity.
You can provide free healthy options like fruits and juices in your workplace cafeteria. Also, another way to promote healthy eating is by conducting awareness campaigns. Even tracking calories can be a good way to start following up with the nutritional intake.
Adding to that, encourage your employees to prepare and bring healthy lunches at work. And replace unhealthy options in your cafeteria menus with healthy alternatives.
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3. Cleanliness in the Workplace
Public cleanliness is necessary for the health of an individual. Especially after the COVID pandemic, hygiene, and sanitation have become workplace priorities. A dirty workplace environment can cause the spread of harmful disease-causing germs and viruses.
As an employer, you must ensure your workplace is well-maintained and cleaned regularly. It should be well-sanitized and disinfected correctly at regular time intervals. You should also ensure the collection and disposal of garbage regularly.
Also, please contact an organization that can take responsibility for clearing the drainage systems. If this is not done, your employees' health can suffer severely.
4. Social Equality and Harmony
To be happy, one must be fully healthy. Employees who mistreat each other cannot be healthy or happy. As a result, social equality and harmony are essential for the health of your employees.
Social wellness is essential when it comes to employee health. Organize team-building activities that allow employees to get together and bond with each other. Team bonding will create a positive environment at work that fosters employee happiness and satisfaction.
By taking initiatives to improve social wellness in your workplace, you can foster trust, communication, and respect among employees. Doing so will significantly help you improve employee wellness.
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5. Mental Health
Regarding well-being, it is not only about physical health. One crucial part of wellness is mental and emotional health. Mental health is a valuable aspect of the overall health of an individual.
Good mental health improves the quality of our lives. It enables us to have healthy relationships and reach our full potential.
Being mostly knowledge workers, corporate employees are prone to bad mental health. Lack of sleep, overworking, and workplace stress cause depression and anxiety among employees. This can result in a loss of productivity and increases absenteeism.
Despite being environment-friendly, blue light is one more factor for increasing employee stress. Since most employees are exposed to blue light emitted from laptops and smartphones, their circadian rhythm turns upside down. When this happens, the quality of sleep suffers, causing stress.
To improve the mental health of your employees, you can invite a counselor to train them on mental health and even offer stress management classes. They will learn how to combat their problems using mental health strategies.
Advise meditation and its benefits to your employees. Meditation relieves depression, anxiety, stress, etc., improving overall health. Nowadays, there are various online platforms offering meditation sessions. You can leverage these kinds of health resources and thus support your employees with their mental health issues.
Also, discourage and eliminate bullying in your workplace.
6. A Smoke-Free Workplace
Besides causing cancer, smoking causes harm to nearly every organ in the body. It is directly responsible for several diseases and ailments.
It causes damage to the bones, brain, heart, immune system, reproductive organs, and many more. It is one of the main reasons for deaths around the world.
As an employer, you must reduce smoking in your workplace to improve overall employee health. You must ensure that your entire workplace is devoid of smoking. Prohibit smoking indoors and in company vehicles.
To do so, you can introduce a smoke cessation program among your workforce. Such programs are aimed at reducing instances of workplace smoking and helping employees quit the habit for good.
You can also invite doctors to conduct seminars at your workplace. Let them promote awareness of the health problems caused by smoking. Make your company smoke-free by running "quit smoking" campaigns. Encourage your employees to join them.
Also, provide nicotine replacement therapies to your employees to help them quit smoking.
7. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol consumption is also one of the leading causes of diseases and premature deaths throughout the world. It causes cancer, heart problems, kidney failure, liver problems, etc.
Reducing your employees' alcohol consumption should be one of your main concerns as an employer. Alcohol consumption needs to be reduced to improve employee health.
Promote awareness of alcohol-related health issues and deaths in your workplace. Invite a doctor or nutritionist to enlighten your employees about the health effects of alcohol.
At company functions and events, provide options for your employees to choose non-alcoholic drinks. Please encourage them to drink responsibly. Organize therapeutic programs where your employees can address their alcohol consumption problems.
High workplace stress can cause employees to look at drinking as a solution to their problems. This is associated with alcohol abuse and has health risks. Try to find the root causes of stress in your workplace and combat them with whatever means necessary.
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8. Health Programs
As a concerned employer, you need to first determine the needs of your employees in terms of health. You should identify the areas needing improvement and address them with appropriate wellness initiatives.
Hosting health and wellness programs is one of the most effective initiatives companies can take to ensure employee health. They work well to encourage employees to pick up healthy habits and drop unhealthy ones. A wellness program can allow you the flexibility to focus on one or more aspects of your employees' wellness simultaneously.
Such programs are gaining massive popularity worldwide, and many companies have them in place.
The programs can cover various activities and challenges, starting with walkathons and marathons. These programs can be on-site or virtual at the convenience of the employers and their employees.
The challenges can be done on a weekly, monthly, half-yearly basis. Or, you could conduct wellness challenges or events like a sports day.
For virtual health services, you can use the wellness platforms that are available these days. These platforms offer features like step tracking, nutrition tracking, among others. You can host wellness challenges on these platforms for your employees and engage them on a wider scale.
Here are some fantastic ideas for wellness challenges -
- Weight loss challenge
- Step challenge
- Fitness challenge
- Cycle-to-work challenge
- Water Drinking challenge
- Nutrition-based challenge
- App-based challenge
In today's world, you can couple employee wellness programs with technology to maximize employee engagement and participation. Many wellness companies provide unique wellness solutions and programs that you can choose from.
Corporate wellness solutions can allow you to incentivize your employees to complete health tasks and activities. This way, you can encourage them to be healthier in a fun and rewarding way.
For example, with a corporate wellness solution like Vantage Fit, you can create fun wellness challenges for your employees with rewards for grabs upon completion. Employees can also access a host of fun health-tracking features like step tracking, activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and more to keep themselves engaged on the wellness journey.
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9. Health Problems
Prevention is better than cure. - Desiderius Erasmus
Identifying existing health problems among your employees can help them take appropriate measures to improve employee health. When your employees are aware of their health, they can better manage and address it. Increased health awareness can also prevent serious health problems in the long run.
Provide annual biometric tests and health risk assessments for your employees. This will create awareness of underlying health issues. Arrange doctor visits to your workplace for discussion on common health problems and how to combat them.
You can also conduct a health fair in your workplace. Such events are quite effective in increasing employee health awareness and also are very engaging.
Also, arrange onsite vaccinations and check-ups for your workforce. These will prevent and protect them from harmful diseases and boost their resilience.
10. Vacation time
To make employees work effectively and be in sound health, taking a break is also important. Working for 8 hours day after day without any pause can often lead to stress and burnout. To avoid situations like this, employers should be flexible with their employees regarding holidays and leaves.
There should be a mandatory vacation time. Employees should be allowed to vacation to refresh their minds and recharge themselves. This will ultimately add to their sound mental health and productivity.
Even employers, managers, and human resources departments should go on holidays once a year to encourage the staff to do the same.
11. Employee Assistance Programs
Work is not the only thing that worries your employees. There are a hundred other problems we face in our everyday lives. Be it personal life revolving around family issues, finances, or a lawsuit. All of these issues contribute to stress and more.
In such cases, companies should introduce employee assistance programs or EAPs that offer several counseling services in the form of therapists and financial planners as per the needs of employees.
Summarizing it all
World leaders like Bill Gates have long advocated the benefits of corporate employee health. The benefits are being fast recognized throughout the world.
Employers must encourage a healthier workforce. Promoting employee health is beneficial not only for employees but also for employers. It creates a positive and efficient work culture and environment.
Promoting the health of your employees will help them perform better. They will be happier, satisfied, and stress-free in general. It will also create team-building opportunities. This will further support a healthy work environment and create a work-life balance.
A healthier workforce is more engaged, focused, and productive. Being healthy improves the overall quality of life, reducing disease risk factors. Also, do not forget to extend the same kind of services to your remote employees.
Furthermore, a healthy workplace will reduce absenteeism and employee turnover. Thus, employers can reap many benefits by promoting workplace employee health.
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