6 Ways To Improve Employee Health and Wellness At Work

A Metlife survey of 2884 people found that 40% of those asked felt like their employer didn’t care about their health or wellbeing. Nearly half of the workforce doesn’t feel supported at work.

But the reality is that the more you invest in your employees’ wellbeing, the more you’ll see a return on your investment. Remember, people don’t leave jobs; they leave people. If your team isn’t feeling valued, healthy, and happy, they’re likely already seeking an employer who will provide what they need. By prioritizing their wellbeing, you can foster a positive workplace culture and reap the benefits of a more engaged and productive team.

As an employer, you have a crucial role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of your employees. By supporting their overall wellbeing, you can create a workplace where they feel valued and cared for.

Increase Worker Autonomy

Studies have found that micromanaging employees and not giving them much flexibility in how they do their job roles leads to higher levels of stress, poor mental health, and even heart disease. This can be easily combated by introducing higher levels of training and support to increase workers’ autonomy to make decisions and complete their work in a way that benefits them and the company. The more control they have over even small details, the more likely they will get the job done well and efficiently without the increased stress. 

Remember, it isn’t about giving them free rein; it’s your job to provide them with the tools so you don’t need to constantly loo over their shoulders, and they can get on with things without anyone looking over their shoulder.

Schedule Flexibility

Not all workplaces or job roles can accommodate complete or partial flexibility, but working with your employees to give them a better level of flexibility where possible can significantly increase workplace productivity and employee culture.

Let’s say you have a strict 9-5 policy, but realistically, you only need the bulk of employees working 11-3 to meet customer demand. Around these core hours, allowing your team to set their hours as long as they meet their contracted weekly hours can help them better manage their home work-life balance, reduce sickness and absences, and improve office morale. 

While this is one example, considering how you can implement this into your working day, including options like flexible start and finish times, remote working options, etc., can be highly beneficial to the employee and the company.

Office Ergonomics

Office ergonomics is the study of how people navigate office life so you can improve different aspects to help you reduce accidents and injuries and support overall easier ways of working. Ergonomics in the office essentially looks at the placement of items, how employees engage with different functions, and how they reduce the impact on the body.

For example, adjustable swivel chairs can reduce the need for constantly moving chairs to reach things or get up and out of their seats. It can also involve the placement of screens and keyboards, using wrist supports, the volume in headsets, the office temperatures, lighting noise levels, etc.

Now, you won’t be able to get everything perfect for every employee on a personal level, but making as many changes as possible and being aware of aspects that can hinder a person’s ability to work or cause them harm can not only be eye-opening but also allow you to work towards improved health and wellness in the workplace.

Wellness Initiatives

Sending out a letter from HR once a year to discuss mental health on awareness month isn’t going to cut the mustard. You must be proactive in supporting employees in any way they need to and allow them to work with you to feel their best so they can perform their best.

This can include having drop-in days where mental health professionals visit your workplace to talk to employees, having a space to relax when things get too much, taking mental health days, or allowing employees to work from home when they’re not feeling 100% for any reason.

You can offer complimentary treatments such as spa days, Posture and spinal screenings, massages, or even exercise classes. What you include in your wellness program is entirely up to you, but having some type of initiative in place can be extremely beneficial.

Healthy Food and Drink Options

Encouraging healthy eating habits, fueling bodies and minds correctly, and reducing the need to rely on junk or convenience foods can be a great avenue to explore. Whether you partner with local businesses to have food delivered that doesn’t come from takeout and is healthy and nutritious, or you have a change of menu for your canteen to include more wholesome food choices, it’s your choice but working in more options for people to choose from so they can make healthier decisions regarding food choices can go along the way of improving their health and wellbeing.

After all, no one performs well when hungry, dehydrated, or fueled by junk food. So have water readily available, introduce healthier snacks, focus on well-balanced food options, and see the difference this can make.

Treat Employees Like People

A massive part of workplace health and wellness is how people are treated. The poorer your workplace culture and the more toxic it is, the worse people will feel, and it will impact their physical and mental health. On the other hand, when employees feel valued, respected, and understood, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to the company. This can lead to a positive work environment, improved employee satisfaction, and better business outcomes. 

Appreciating that people are indeed humans with feelings, with lives outside of work, who do experience illnesses, who don’t function like robots or enjoy being spoken down to or mistreated can be a harsh lesson to learn but one that needs to be learned nonetheless.

To improve employee health and wellness, you need to practice what you preach and allow time off for illnesses without forcing people to come to work when they should be resting. 

Understand that life events can happen, impacting how they can work, their punctuality, emergencies that cannot be preplanned, and things that occur outside of a person’s control. 

Working with employees at these times instead of pushing back can enable you to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, boost employee satisfaction, and lead to more outstanding results and improved standards across the board. As a leader, your actions and decisions set the tone for the entire organization, so it’s crucial to lead by example and prioritize the wellbeing of your employees.

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