Office initiatives: Happiness starts with healthby
Tegan Denwood tells us why happiness is key to a productive office.
Office environments are notoriously problematic where health is concerned, with physical activity low and routines rigid. The sense of monotony that can result from a nine to five office job is a productivity killer and can mean lost output for your business. Cultivating an atmosphere of positivity and proactivity in your office is the key to keeping the inertia at bay - helping your team to love their work and excel at what they do. And, as ever, workplace happiness starts with employee health.
What does my team’s health have to do with me?
The health of your employees is, of course, personal to them - so you might wonder as an employer, what business it is of yours to get involved? And the answer is as simple as that: it’s your business. As the lifeblood of your company, your employees are fundamental to all business output - meaning their health, from both a physical and mental perspective, directly influences business performance.
Anything you as an employer can implement to keep your team fit for work and raring to go is something worth considering - especially as these changes are so easy to execute and effective in the long-term. There are many ways to prioritise health in the office - but the first step is to understand that what affects your team affects your company.
How can I influence my employees’ health?
The sit-down culture of nine-to-fives means employees are spending their eight-hour working days immobile, neglecting essential exercise due to their generally static lifestyles. Even 20-30 minutes of exercise a day can help to stimulate weight loss and regulate our blood pressure - making this basic physical commitment massively beneficial to office workers.
Offering a subsidised gym membership to your staff promotes physical activity, affecting their physical fitness as well as their mental health - with exercise reducing stress levels and generating endorphins, otherwise known as ‘the happy hormone’.
Advocating regular hydration in the office is also essential, with constant access to fresh water helping to keep your employees’ thirsts quenched and brains sharp. According to the NHS, we should be drinking between eight and ten glasses of water a day to stay ‘healthy’ - and with employees spending the majority of their waking day at the office, responsibility falls upon the employer to provide total aqua access.
The fine balance employers should strive to achieve is between promoting health without pushing an agenda. Employees are generally receptive to initiatives where they can see the personal benefits and are eased in naturally – but are likely to reject a health and wellbeing initiative that feels compulsory or aggressive in execution.
A report published last year by the Global Corporate Challenge included a study where 45% of employees admitted to not participating in wellness initiatives because they weren’t fun or engaging enough. This indicates that employers should be taking more creative and encouraging approaches to health initiatives in the office – where the personal benefits are made glowingly clear and the activities are liberating rather than restrictive.
Team morale should, of course, be the number one incentive for employers looking to keep their team healthy – with a relentless focus on how to energise the office in a way that promotes positivity.
How does my team’s health affect my business?
Doing your part to ensure that your employees are in peak physical and mental health is a sure way to maximise productivity for your business - improving both the quality and volume of work produced. Health and performance are inextricably linked - meaning any efforts made by you, the employer, to keep your team as healthy as possible are ultimately strategies for business development.
There are simpler initiatives, like promoting hydration for increased mental sharpness, and more complex structures designed to optimise your employees’ environments for peak performance across the board. The range of health and wellbeing initiatives out there for the implementing is vast – each with the power to help your team evolve to a higher level of productivity.
Employee absences are, of course, something any employer would like to avoid - with around £29bn lost by UK businesses each year attributed to sick day expenses. Investing in the wellbeing of your employees, one small step at a time, works to minimise absenteeism, saving your company money and protecting your company’s most valuable asset: the people.