By Jamie-Natalie Cross
Why should employers care about the fitness of their staff? It’s simple – healthy workers mean happy workers, which means they’re more likely to stay on with the company and perform their duties better and with more enthusiasm.
Fitness also reduces the amount of sick time employees have to take, which, in turn, saves the business money. Now is the time to come up with a plan and get everyone on board. After all, as the proverb says “He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.” Below are a few tips to help you get started.
Create a questionnaire to assess employees’ views on how their working environment can be improved. Questions such as: “Do you think you have acceptable space to relax at lunch time?” or “If there were company sports events, would you attend?” would work well. Then leave a space at the end where staff can provide their own suggestions as to how their well-being at work might be enhanced. Be prepared to listen to the views you get and act on them.
If you want to encourage workers to ditch detrimental habits, you’ll need to get them to recognize the benefits. One of the most common of these is smoking, but it’s not an easy one to overcome. The aim here is not to enforce rules or guilt-trip people about smoking on-site, but to encourage and offer support to those who wish to stop and become healthier.
Regular breaks are essential for boosting productivity and ensuring that employees’ concentration levels remain high. To encourage employees to take this valuable downtime during the day, companies should consider creating a “chill out zone” if possible where staff can relax at lunch time and get away from their desks. This needn’t be a costly exercise – a quiet space with a few comfy chairs is all that’s required.
While you can’t tell employees what to eat, they might be more encouraged to make healthier choices if the company was able to offer a regular supply of fruit – which could prevent employees from dashing out for potato chips, snack cakes, and other unhealthy treats. Many local greengrocers offer preferential rates for business customers and can deliver a weekly box of seasonal fruits straight to your door. Smoothies are another great option, so it might be worth investing in a smoothie maker or blender for the office kitchen and encouraging staff to make their own at lunch time.
Emotional well-being is just as important as physical well-being and a positive outlook is essential to success. In order to help staff feel happier and more appreciated at work, it’s important to take time to speak to them individually about how they’re progressing and what they’re aiming for. Show encouragement and understanding and let them know that you appreciate their commitment to their work. One-to-one meetings may be time consuming, but they are a powerful motivational tool and will help staff feel more connected to you and the company.