healthier workforce

Hey boss, want a healthier balance sheet? Begin with a fitter workforce

We spend over 50% of our day at work. That’s the average and there are many people who spend more. Creating a healthy work environment with a coherent wellness plan therefore assumes critical importance for employer and employee alike. From better morale to reduced health care expenditure to raised efficiency (which, in turn, has been proven to take productivity up by several notches), the benefits of a healthy workforce is not only well documented medically, but essential for the vitality and longevity of the business itself.

Here are some concrete benefits of a positive, safe and healthy environment at the office or workplace.

Stronger relationships

Better health is known to lift the mood and generate positive vibes, something that leads to better ties and warmer bonds between co-workers. As employees feel more cared about, there is a heightened sense of mutual appreciation, healthy respect for superiors and greater self-esteem. The result is enhanced levels of morale and job satisfaction, ultimately leading to happier and healthier workers and more productive teams.

Less absenteeism

Employees who are healthy are naturally able to have better immunity, feel less stressed, recover from sickness faster and generally fall ill less frequently. This not only means less health care cost and lower insurance premiums, but also translates to more hands on deck for the company and healthier productivity reports at the end of the month.

Better employer branding

Fitter employees are more motivated to come to work every day, and more committed to their jobs. Their passion, enthusiasm and good energy rub off on the entire workplace, creating a positive culture, healthier work environment, more goodwill in the job market and stronger branding amongst potential employees. This not only reduces employee attrition and employment costs, and but also attracts better talent which, in turn, causes productivity to go up.

Less stress, better focus

Healthier lifestyles and happier workplaces bring down levels of stress, which is universally regarded as a deadly productivity killer. A stress-free state of mind leads to better cognitive and analytical abilities, enabling employees to focus better and get tasks done faster and with greater degree of accuracy. This makes a big difference to both individual efficiency and overall performance of the staff. The combined result is measurably improved workplace productivity.

All of which leads us to the big question: How exactly does one foster and nurture a work environment that’s healthy? Here are some tested ways.

Build health awareness, wellness mind-set & fitness policies

A big reason behind a corporate workforce that is given to unhealthy habits and low productivity cycles is the lack of awareness of the need to get and stay fit – along with the lack of motivation to maintain an active and healthy work style. In such cases, the change is most effective when it is driven top-down, with the HR leadership, decision makers and top management making a co-ordinated and sustained effort to generate consciousness, build rules & policies, and enforce urgency and adoption of healthy lifestyles among the staff.

Foster healthy behavior and habits

Some of the ways in which we can foster a healthier organization and a more productive work force – be it at a business or home setting – is to follow ‘healthy traits’ and bring about a behavioral change in our sedentary routines. Some initiatives we can adopt are cycling or walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, holding walking meetings, using standing desks, creating treadmill workstations (where one can exercise and work at the same time), work outdoors, take regular breaks to stretch, do basic fitness drills including light breathing exercises, and not least, maintain a fun, warm and engaging environment.

Eat right

Diet lies at the core of a workforce that’s on top of its physical and mental well-being. Some changes one can bring about in this area is through the pantry. The office can procure fruit bowls to encourage greater intake of fruits and vegetables (these food groups contain fiber, essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants which are believed to trigger alertness and stimulate positive flows of energy, thus enhancing impact at work), and cut back on stocking junk food, eg. nibbles and bites that are overly fried, salty or sweet.

The health of a workforce and that of a business are more intricately connected than we tend to realize. Making healthy workplace environments a priority is bound to bring morale, goodwill and productivity up manifold, yielding clear business results. For leaders seeking to gain a healthy competitive edge, encouraging your workforce to be healthy is the way to go.

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