How workplaces can encourage healthy living

A healthy staff member is a quality worker. Without health issues, workers can focus primarily on the work at hand, getting the job done. Your business will produce work on time, to clients’ satisfaction and will do so consistently, provided your staff are healthy. Sick staff means entire projects are stalled, as various skills from staff are not available, since the employee is unavailable. Stalled projects spill over into other projects, setting the estimated timeline for your work back significantly.

There is plenty of data to back up what many know to be true. As Christina Merhar points out:

“According to a Quantum Workplace report, employees are 14% more engaged when provided time off to recharge, 10% more engaged when provided health food options, 18% more engaged when provided time for healthy activities,  and 18% more engaged when provided a flexible schedule.”

Healthy employees benefit the business. The question is how a business can encourage this. A good way is to examine how other businesses have done so.

Healthy cycle

One business, which focuses on all things bikes – bicycle parts, equipment and so on – decided to try their hand at facilitating the lifestyle essential to their own brand.

SRAM, the company, moved into new offices and recognised something important. FastCoDesign reports:

“most of SRAM’s 150 Chicago employees bike to work. So Perkins+Will overhauled a space in the building’s basement for 200 bike racks, a full locker room with showers, and even a bike-washing station.”

This is a smart move since it encourages both the brand, fits in with most of the employees and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Creating this kind of space makes it easier for the employees to remain healthy. They don’t have to go out their way to, for example, find a race track.

More effort going into an activity means less incentive to do it. By making the activity convenient, there are fewer excuses you can make to avoid staying healthy.

Practical responses

Not all businesses are cycling ones, however. The average business can rather focus on other ways to maintain a healthy workforce.

The first obvious way is to pay employees properly. That is, enough to actually survive on. Businesses, of course, already do this. Some might try deduct from the total wage with strange payments the employee might not know about. Remember, you’ll end up paying more by short-changing your employee. You’re not actually saving, since not being able to live well in itself leads to more sickness. You will basically be paying for many sick employees, if you don’t give a decent wage.

Business could fund healthy food options at the workplace. Junk food is often acquired because it is convenient and quick.

Instead, businesses can have fruit, vegetables and other healthy items always stocked and fresh. A budget can be set aside for this. Remember, this is paying for healthy staff, which means better work. This isn’t an unnecessary expense, but essential to the bigger picture of a functioning business.

This is why other options, like hiring professional masseuses, dieticians and so on could also prove essential to keeping your staff happy and healthy.