As more and more research points to a link between happy employees and productive workforces, it has become increasingly clear that taking care of your staff is vitally important to running a successful business. Providing a safe and comfortable environment for your employees can increase satisfaction at work and reduce stress, minimising absenteeism and turnover rates as a result. Financial benefits aside, you also have a managerial responsibility and social obligation to care for your employees! After all, they are the lifeblood of your business.
Over the years, we’ve seen more and more businesses find quirky ways to increase employee satisfaction and attract new talent. From installing slides and nap areas in the office to allowing employees to bring in pets, there are lots of great examples of what’s now known as the ‘Google Effect’.
However, you don’t need to install rooftop terraces or employ Michelin star chefs for your workplace canteen to keep your employees happy. A large part of this is simply encouraging your employees to live a healthy lifestyle. By encouraging and facilitating a healthy lifestyle at work, your staff members are more likely to adopt healthy practices outside of the office.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some of our top tips for encouraging your employees to live a healthy lifestyle. From facilitating new employee habits to enhancing the work environment itself, here’s what we recommend.
Offer fresh fruit and vegetables
Let’s begin with one of the easiest – and most cost-effective – things you can do to encourage your employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle at work: offering fresh fruit and vegetables. By making healthy snacks easily accessible to your employees, you can encourage them to choose apples, bananas, avocados and other fruits and vegetables instead of biscuits and crisps.
You can sign up to subscription services to order fruits and vegetables straight to your workplace or commit to filling the fruit bowl once it’s empty. Either way, this is an effective way to introduce fresh foods into the working day.
Remove vending machines from the workplace
In addition to offering healthy snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, you should consider removing vending machines from your workplace. It can be very tempting to snack on chocolate bars and packets of crisps when you’re stressed at work, and if they’re right in front of you, it’s even harder to say no! Make it easier than ever for your employees to choose the healthier option by removing any vending machines selling products that are high in sugar.
If you’d like to keep the vending machines in your office or warehouse, consider swapping the items inside for healthier alternatives. For example, instead of muffins and flapjacks, fill the machine with packets of nuts or raisins.
Encourage employees to drink plenty of fresh water
Make it quick and simple for your employees to stay hydrated by ensuring there’s a kitchen tap accessible or by putting water stations around the office. This way, there’s no excuse not to drink plenty of water throughout the day! You should also make sure there are plenty of cups available, but consider buying reusable cups and mugs instead of single-use alternatives. The planet will thank you.
Make sure your employees leave on time
Unfortunately, many people stay late at work because they feel pressured to. Whether you’ve put this pressure on them directly or not, it can be tempting for workers to stay later and later to impress those in managerial roles and compete with their colleagues. This is an unhealthy mindset that won’t lead to increased productivity rates in the long-term. Instead, your employees will likely feel burned out after months of keeping this up.
The easiest way to combat this is to actively encourage your workforce to leave the office on time. Set a positive example by doing this yourself and make sure not to praise employees who stay later than they should do.
Set up walking and cycling to work challenges
Encouraging your employees to get active can also have a hugely positive impact on their health. One great way to do this is to set up walking and cycling to work challenges for the whole workforce to get involved in. This could be as simple as rewarding the employees who walk or cycle to work every day for a week. Alternatively, you could set up points-based challenges between departments.
If there’s a great prize to be won, your employees are likely to be intrigued! Once they’ve realised how easy or pleasant it is to give driving or catching public transport a break, they may even be motivated to keep walking or cycling after the competition ends.
Invest in ergonomic furniture
Investing in ergonomic furniture is a great way to help your employees improve their posture at work. It’s said that sitting is the new smoking on account of the health risks associated with being stationary all day. This is a particularly prominent issue for people who sit at desks all day, such as office workers.
Encourage your employees to focus on their posture to avoid aches and pains by investing in chairs with lumbar support, standing desks and tables with arm support. By helping your team to avoid the muscular aches and pains associated with poor posture, you can reduce absenteeism rates and boost employee satisfaction.
Allow breaks for stretching or walking around the block
In addition to supplying ergonomic furniture, consider allowing extra breaks for stretching or walking around the block. Encouraging your employees to take 10 minutes out for yoga or a brisk walk can boost satisfaction, reduce tiredness and prevent muscular and joint stiffness.
Never underestimate the importance of setting a positive example! As the company manager, your employees will inevitably follow your lead and look to your example to see how they should conduct themselves at work. If your workforce knows that they’re allowed these short breaks, they are much more likely to take advantage of them – rather than remaining uncomfortable in their desk chair.
Create a healthy work environment
As we’ve mentioned, it’s vitally important to lead by example if you want to encourage your employees to live a healthier lifestyle. This includes creating a healthy work environment that is designed and managed with wellness in mind. Investing in ergonomic furniture is one way to achieve this, but there are other factors to consider. For example:
- Purify the air by decorating with leafy green plants. This could be as simple as potting plants such as cheese plants and peace lilies and putting them on shelves and desks. You could even create a living wall to ensure the benefits of plants are felt by everyone in your office.
- Install an air conditioning system to keep your employees cool in the summer. Installing air conditioning has many health benefits (in addition to being a great financial investment for businesses) and is also credited with purifying the air in commercial buildings. Air conditioning systems can prevent your staff from overheating and becoming dehydrated, and can also filter the air to remove pollutants and allergens.
- Pay attention to the lighting in your workplace to make sure it’s conducive to productivity. This is particularly important. If the lighting in your workplace is too dark, your employees will likely feel lethargic and tired. If the lighting is too bright, on the other hand, they may complain of headaches and eyesore. For help with lighting design and installation services, hire electrical contractors who specialise in commercial projects.
These are just three examples of ways that your office design can encourage a healthy lifestyle. If you put health and wellness at the forefront of your business, your employees are sure to adopt these practices.
Mitchell’s: Creating environments that work since 1905
Although we can’t help you encourage your employees to live healthier lifestyles, the team at Mitchell’s can help you create an environment that facilitates this. With our range of building services for commercial and industrial businesses, we can help you create and operate a workplace that puts employee safety and comfort first.
From installing air conditioning to keep your workforce cool to maintaining your IT equipment to minimise downtime, we can make sure that your office, hotel, warehouse or restaurant is comfortable for the people most important to your business.
For more information about our range of building services and project management solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’re based in Gloucester but are proud to work alongside businesses throughout the South West.