Health is a top concern for just about any person. Parents expecting a newborn baby may prefer a boy or girl, but overall they just want a healthy child. Sick people are doing everything they can to try and get better. One of the most popular adages of our time is “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Companies should also be caring about their health and the health of their employees. Ensuring company growth, profit and success shows the company’s health and sustainability.
How can a company be healthy? By taking care of their body, the employees that make up the workforce.
Health doesn’t have to be limited to physical health. Of course, it’s a great idea to have one hour of exercise a day, drink lots of water and get plenty of rest, but mental health plays a huge role in the workplace. Workers that are mentally sound are going to be more productive, happier and will work together more.
The World Health Organization has some mind-boggling statistics on mental health in the workplace. Depression and anxiety have a huge effect on the global economy, coming in at $1 trillion per year. The WHO estimates that for every $1 put into “scaled up treatment for common and mental disorders”, a $4 return in improved health and productivity can be expected.
What Companies Can Do
There are plenty of reasons a work environment might lead to mental health issues among workers, such as the following:
- Poor health and safety policies
- Inadequate communication and bad management practices
- Low levels of support
- Working hours set in stone
- Tasks and objectives with unclear aims
Some of these issues seem like they can be easily resolved, like bringing people together to see how upper management can communicate better and making sure tasks are more evenly assigned to everyone around.
While many companies may bristle at the idea of implementing a flexible work schedule, employees will feel a level of support knowing it’s not the end of the world if they miss 30 minutes because of a dentist appointment or head off early to catch their kid’s soccer game.
An easy way to think about it is making sure your employees are working to live instead of living to work.
While there will be plenty of stressful moments that are ways of the job, one way of reducing stress is by not assigning tasks to people who can’t handle them or making sure to manage workloads. Remember that people aren’t machines and can get overloaded quicker.
Setting up an area where people can relax is a great idea as well, if you have the office space for it. Put up a ping pong table or a sitting area where people can enjoy their 15 minute break instead of just looking at their phones the whole time. Another fun way to help out is by handing out stress relieving balls or toys that allow your employees to release a little bit of stress and anxiety.
While the majority of one’s physical health will be taken care of at home, a work environment can still play into workers’ physical health and wellbeing. This doesn’t mean you have to install electric bikes that people will pedal on in order to generate electricity or maintain the internet connection, but a company can still take steps to promoting physical health.
It’s important to note the keyword there: promote. Forcing people into changing their physical health will result in a lot of push-back and anger. What you can do is simply lead the horse to water instead of making it drink.
What Companies Can Do
Think about when you’re out buying yourself groceries. Whatever you don’t buy, you won’t have at home. Have you or whomever is in charge of the office fridge avoid buying candies or unhealthy snacks.
Make sure there is easy access to water. If you don’t have a water fountain in the office, buy a cooler where people can easily fill up their glasses or water bottles.
You can make a fitness incentive program for people who want to walk during lunch or for those who take preventative healthcare measures. Make a company kickball or basketball team, a chance to be together and alsoOnce again, you shouldn’t be forcing anyone to do anything but instead offering them options and promoting a healthy lifestyle.