Health in the workplace has taken on more layers of meaning than ever with pandemic responses and shifts toward remote work. While changes haven’t been easy, it has also been a prime opportunity for learning and growth.
For businesses, the lessons from recent years are likely to change the corporate world forever—for the better! Companies have learned how to adapt and become more flexible. They are also beginning to realize the value of “prevention vs. cure” when it comes to the health and well-being of their employees.
As your company rolls into the new year, we’re excited to provide some ideas for you to adapt your organization and prioritize your people. Because when you take great care of your team, they’re able to take great care of you.
The Benefits of Encouraging Holistic Health Practices at Work
- Healthy habits – When employees develop healthy habits both personally and professionally, it strengthens the organization. Consider how your company might support and reward positive behavior changes and good self-care practices.
- Employees feel valued – When employees enjoy a workplace atmosphere and culture with built-in reminders to make healthy choices, the message is clear that their well-being is important to the company.
- Competitive edge – Healthy employees have a leg up in the workplace. Scientific studies indicate they’re more productive and have fewer sick days.
- Happier employees – Healthy, balanced employees are most often happy employees, and an organization made up of happy people is a place where everyone wants to work.
- Decreased health-related costs – The healthier your people are, the less they may cost when it comes to health care. As your workforce gets healthier and happier, you’re more likely to see fewer requests for time off, sick days, and doctor visits.
- Less turnover – When your employees know they’re supported and appreciated, they’re more likely to stick around for years to come.
Ideas for Creating a Culture of Wellness
In the past, a strictly on-site nine-to-five workday (we’re talking no breaks, encouraged overtime, and donuts in the breakroom) has done little to create a thriving atmosphere of health. Since the pandemic, companies are rethinking wellness and waking up to the importance of holistic health.
A workplace focused on holistic health includes ways to protect and promote the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of employees. If you’re hoping to create a healthier and happier work environment this coming year, consider how you might implement some of the following ideas:
- Send out stress surveys to your employees. There’s no better way to get to the heart of what’s causing your people stress than to check in with them consistently. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know—and not knowing can be costly for any organization. Once you’ve learned the causes of stress, do what you can to alleviate it. Click here for a stress survey template.
- Host quarterly healthy potlucks and offer prizes for employees achieving their health and fitness goals.
- Create an onsite gym. If you want to boost the mood of your employees and promote their ability to be alert and productive, try to make physical activity the norm for your organization. Have you considered providing your employees activity trackers? Standing desks are also proving to be beneficial for health.
- Provide resources. Employees are more likely to engage in holistic health practices if resources beyond traditional health benefits are made available to them. Consider providing a wellness program that includes mental and emotional health services, preventative care, financial training and support, and activities that build community.
Educate your employees. Consider scheduling specialists to come in throughout each year to provide informative and interesting presentations. Here are a few ideas:
- Financial consultant
- Diversity specialist
- Physical trainer
- Meditation teacher
- Social emotional learning specialist
- Neurodiversity specialist
- Sleep specialist
- Art therapist
- Animal therapist
- Provide a place for rest. Reprimanding employees for sleeping on the job is a thing of the past. If you want your people to be sharp and alert, create a sleep station or a quiet zone where employees can take a powernap to recharge or engage in a 10-minute meditation to reduce stress. Here are three rest and meditation apps you can suggest to or provide for your employees:
- Provide healthy food options and incentivize employees to make superior food choices.
- Encourage your employees to spend time outside each day. Some companies can provide nice outdoor spaces, others can only encourage midday walks or even walking meetings. Natural light is important for health. If your facility doesn’t have good indoor lighting, you might consider offering light therapy lamps to interested employees. These can be helpful during the winter months for those who tend to struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder aka “SAD.”
- Provide hybrid scheduling. New flexible schedules have changed the game for many employees who have learned they either work better from home or are more productive during atypical hours. Allowing flex in your employees’ schedules has many benefits. For example, you can improve employee retention, attract top talent, increase productivity, increase employee engagement, and add diversity to your organization.
- Evaluate the design of your building. Does it have both collaborative spaces and private spaces? If you are interested in implementing flexible schedules, some companies are trying hot-desking, which allows employees who don’t come into the office every day to share desks. It saves space, but depending on the size of your company, it can make it tricky for employees to find one another.
There are so many ways to prioritize the holistic health of your employees. We hope you have found some inspiration here to help you get your people off to a good start in the new year. Thank you for supporting us at Spoonful of Comfort. We look forward to providing more valuable content for you and your company in the coming months.
Happy New Year!