Our Blog

Read more

Blog

10 Ways to encourage healthy employees and a productive team

It’s no secret that good employee health is good for business. Not only can it improve ROI and increase productivity, it can also avoid the cost sickness and stress. This includes things such as absenteeism, errors and defects on a day to day basis. When you don’t encourage healthy employees, you could see lower productivity levels and decreased profitability. Therefore, it should be a priority to keep your employees on the right track.

Employee health doesn’t have to be a number crunching task. Health is a personal matter for employees and should be dealt with accordingly. However, there’s no doubt that encouraging your employees to be healthy is a good thing and one that should be taken up company-wide.

So, that being said, here are 10 ways you can encourage healthy employees and have a more productive, happy team.

1) Get the work-life balance right

In the past, the concept of a work-life balance was normally criticised by many top executives. It was believed that to get ahead, you had to put in the necessary hours which would help to reap the rewards later on. What was meant by that was that people had to spend their evenings working. Yet in more recent times, there’s been a predominant shift towards a work-life balance. It is now considered to be better for business and for a productive and happy workforce.

The reason behind this is that it can actually improve employee engagement, turnover and creativity. With more of a work-life balance, employees are less tired and focused on the work at hand when in the office. This prevents errors and increases engagement in workplace activities. An overworked employee can suffer from stress, mental health issues, employee burnout, high blood pressure and other health problems. All of which can lead to higher absenteeism and a much less productive team.

A possible approach

Employers can offer employees flexible working opportunities to suit the employee’s lifestyle. This includes job-sharing, flexi-time and remote working to help accommodate a balance. For example, it allows time with children, or to fulfil interests such as further education or fitness. By providing flexibility, it can encourage a better lifestyle which reduces stress. It also means that they’re not distracted when at work and can fully engage. If you notice employees working long hours, encourage them to go home and come back refreshed the next day. It’s important to remove the stigma around taking time off and ensure adequate cover during holidays. Having better processes can improve efficiency and productivity during working hours. This can include improved communication, removing unnecessary meetings or improving systems. Employees can then get work done during the designated hours and avoid overtime or taking work home.

2) Team bonding

To encourage a little exercise and get the team out and about, having a company away day can actually help. If you can, take the office out of work for a day or half day and combine some physical exertion with a little team bonding. It helps to build team morale and encourage better communication. It can also provide a reward for your team for all their hard work.

It’s important to consider the timing of the day as it needs to fit in with all members of staff so that they feel included. Setting reasonable objectives can also help to plan the event. For example, an activity that involves teams and competitions can help to encourage tactical thinking, communication and challenges.

A possible approach

It doesn’t have to be a full-on military style boot camp, maybe choose to go go-karting, bowling, paintballing or escape rooms. Whether you use the idea for your Christmas do or break up the year for a summer bbq, getting some down time with the team can encourage a healthier workforce. It also allows team members to bond outside of work, creating a better atmosphere in the office.

Not all staff members may be keen on the idea. Instead, you could set up a small sports team or invite people to attend a one-off event such as a fun run that they can join in if they want to without feeling pressured.  If you’re still not sure if it will work and find employees unwilling, try asking around to see what employees would like to get involved in so that they engage more with the idea.

3) Encourage Exercise

Promoting fitness within the office can help increase health, motivation and engagement. Exercise releases endorphins which helps aid mood and motivation. Regular exercise also aids better sleep and will provide more energy during working hours. Employees are less likely to use sick days too, which can help for enhanced productivity. Furthermore, it can help to reduce employees stress levels. Encouraging exercise can promote a more focused and positive mindset which allows them to focus clearly on their work.

A possible approach

Encouraging exercise within the workplace doesn’t have to be a challenging task or one that is forced upon employees. Simply, the business can offer gym memberships or discounted offers to encourage employees to head to the gym in their own time. Offering cycle or walk to work schemes too can encourage employees to exercise before or after work for a more productive day. You can also encourage employees to take their lunch away from their desks and go for a walk on a sunny day. All of which can help encourage increased activity levels.

Providing time for employees to do exercise can help to encourage healthy employees. This can be done through flexible working or longer lunch times. Some firms even offer a selected half hour time off once or every two weeks specifically to engage in fitness activities. Not only does it help encourage healthy employees but staff can be appreciative of the businesses support in pursuit of an active lifestyle. This further adds to motivation and loyalty.

4) Ergonomics

Implementing an ergonomic improvement process for staff should be part of your company’s commitment to building a safe and efficient workplace for your team. Ergonomic improvements can lead to increased productivity, quality and safety amongst employees. The goal of office ergonomics is to design a workstation that fits specifically to the employee. This then allows them to be comfortable throughout the day and can avoid strain. It also helps to avoid discomfort and fatigue during the day and keeps employees healthy.

A possible approach

Small adaptations to an employee’s workstation can really help improve their comfort levels throughout the day. For example, a chair that supports the back and arms can help keep protect muscles and avoid slouching. Chairs with wheels can help employees sit within a reasonable and adjustable distance from their work. In addition to this, monitors should be placed directly in front of employees, with the top no higher than eye level to maintain posture and avoid eye strain. Employees should be shown how to adjust fonts, keyboards and mice to a comfortable position for them.

If employees need ergonomic keyboards and mice to help them, then provide it for them. Small adjustments to their desk can really help avoid fatigue, muscle pain and help to encourage productivity throughout the day.

5) Offer Life Insurance and Private Health Care

Offering life insurance policies and private health care as employee benefits can help to motivate the team and keep them healthy when they need it. Private medical care is a great recruitment tool but also helps employees get access to faster and better treatment so that they can get quality care and get back to work sooner when they’re in full health. Furthermore, life insurance can provide financial security for employees and their families, which can help take a worry off their minds. A comprehensive benefits package can also contribute to higher employee satisfaction and create loyal employees that really appreciate what is offered.

A possible approach

Offering private medical insurance and life insurance can be simple to do as part of a competitive benefits package. Relevant Life Cover can be a great tax-efficient way for the business to offer employees a death-in-service benefit. Comparing top UK insurers and getting qualified advice from a life insurance advisor can help you get the right price and best products to suit your specific needs.

Get a quote here.

6) Health Checks

Offering workplace health checks can really aid the health and wellbeing of your employees. Health checks are short, confidential consultations that can help identify risk factors such as blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and lifestyle. Providing the opportunity to get a free health check at work can demonstrate that you are concerned with employees’ wellbeing. It can also help identify early signs of illness which can prevent absent members of staff. Health checks can encourage healthy employees by providing resources and plans to keep them in good health.

A possible approach

If you’ve got life insurance or private medical care with a provider, it might be that they offer a mobile health check service. They can come out to your work to complete a health check confidentially for your employees. There are also plenty of providers that can deliver health checks including many operational health providers. If you have limited funds for a mobile health check, you can also encourage a free health MOT conducted by the NHS for adults aged 40-74 or to check with a local GP or pharmacy.

7) Improving Mental Health

Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress can affect one in six British workers each year. Whilst mental health is quickly becoming a topic of discussion, a lot of businesses still haven’t implemented a mental health policy. In addition to this many employers and employees feel like it’s an awkward topic to bring up. Ignoring the issues can make problems worse with increased absence, low morale and productivity. However, when employees can get support, it can make a difference in their health, morale, loyalty, productivity and creativity. It is because of this, that it can benefit the business.

A possible approach

Make time for staff and ask how they’re getting on in regular meetings. This can be a good start in preventing and managing mental health. To effectively support employees doesn’t mean you have to have the answers. In fact, taking action can be as simple as providing helpful resources such as occupational health or counselling through a provider or allowing them time to get their own. To support an employee you can encourage breaks and holidays and ensure you continue to have open communication.

Policies that are promoted company-wide, can create an environment where employees feel more comfortable discussing issues.  You can also help staff maintain a healthy work-life balance by reducing workload if they are under pressure, introducing flexible working or encouraging the team to adopt healthier working habits.

8) Develop a Smoke-Free Workplace

Smoking can not only affect employee’s health but can also impact their life and health insurance. To encourage healthy employees, you can develop and promote a smoke-free workplace. A tobacco-free environment can help to create a safer and healthier workplace. In fact, you may help those that want to quit by providing additional motivation. For the business, it means employees are less likely to miss work due to related illnesses. It also reduces time spent out of the office during working hours. Amongst workers, it can reduce resentment between those that take time on smoking breaks and those that don’t.

A possible approach

Whilst legislation states that business premises are smoke-free, additional actions can still be put in place. One company in Japan actually offered extra holiday days to the employees that didn’t smoke to encourage employees to quit smoking. Whilst you don’t have to go to such extremes, there are simple measures you can adopt to encourage a smoke-free workplace. This includes appropriate signage and promoting a company-wide policy.  Employers can also work with staff to promote a smoke-free policy and provide support, advice and guidance for those that would like to quit smoking.

9) Sponsor a Charity

Sponsoring a charity is not only good for your business but can be good for employees too. As a workforce, you can raise money throughout the year in support of the charity. It can be a great way to improve morale and communication in the office too. The added benefit is that it can also encourage outdoor exercise and participation. Sponsoring a charity can help improve well-being as well as being a great tool for building a reputable business.

A possible approach

Supporting a charity is easy to do as most charities will be happy for the additional support. To encourage employees to be on board, you can give them the chance to choose which charity they would like to support. Furthermore, you can change it each year, and encourage people to nominate different charities they would like to support. Once you’ve picked a chosen charity, there’ll be plenty of fundraising opportunities. Bake sales and competitions in the office can keep it simple and raise some cash.  Activities and sporting events such as triathlons, marathons, fun-runs, company days and many more activities can help to encourage healthy employees too.

10) Offer Healthy Eating Options

Create an environment that promotes healthy eating can help to encourage healthy employees. Healthy eating can help to keep employees alert, productive and energised throughout the day. Unhealthy lunches can cause fatigue, low performance and lack of attention which can lead to lower productivity. Introducing healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult and can encourage healthy employees and a lifestyle that helps keep the business running.

A possible approach

Offering healthy eating options can be as simple as providing healthy fruit and veg in the office for the staff. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen in the office, this can help also to encourage healthy employees. It provides a space to bring healthy foods from home and cook them at work. It also means they don’t have to worry about buying lunch out which can reduce money pressures. With the right facilities, companies can provide canteens or join up with a local café to offer discounts and vouchers for healthy lunches. There are plenty of ways to promote schemes and help employees have a nice nutritional meal at lunchtime.

With a little action, you can encourage healthy employees and enhance productivity in the office. Even with just a few of these 10 tips to encourage healthy employees, you can be heading towards a happy, productive and healthy workforce.