A healthy work environment is a necessity to ensuring your business continues to grow, develop and thrive. Luckily, it’s quite easy to provide a happy and healthy work environment for your employees without going to extreme or even expensive lengths. Happy employees are more productive, take fewer sick days and are more engaged with their work – so it is in the best interests of your company to ensure you create a healthy work environment.
The right equipment
Even something as simple as a good desk chair can make a huge difference to the quality of someone’s day. Back pain is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism in the workplace, so investing in good office equipment can save you money in the long run.
As well as this, Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSIs, can occur as a result of undertaking repetitive tasks such as typing for extended periods of time whilst sitting with poor posture. RSI symptoms include tender muscles, stiffness and even swelling in severe cases, usually in the upper body at the wrists, forearms and shoulders. Anyone who spends an excessive amount of time at their desk puts a great deal of stress on their bodies. An ergonomic workstation allows employees to maintain a healthy posture.
Strike a balance
A lack of work/life balance is one of the biggest complaints among employees who feel undervalued and overworked. This can affect your business with tired employees daydreaming, drifting off or even coming into work late. Employees are often faced with playing catch-up when this happens, working late into the night and skipping breaks – throwing themselves even more off balance as a result.
Ensure that your employees take breaks – regular ones. Proper breaks away from the desk reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues, depression and stress. As well as this, short breaks to stretch and massage any painful areas can help employees avoid RSI as well. It can even help to explore the possibilities of remote working for some employees, as if they are not torn between work and home life, they have the time, energy and motivation to engage more fully in their work.
Focus on office health
Working lunches, deadlines and lack of preparation time can leave us all reaching for the sugary snacks that are damaging to both our health and our concentration. Poor dietary choices often leave employees irritable, stressed and hungry again soon enough. As well as this, poor diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can often lead to long-term illness.
Offering reduced gym membership to a local gym is a great way to encourage movement, and a healthy eating initiative such as healthy office fruit means that employees will always have fresh fruit within reach. Easy, hassle-free and healthy snacks will soon garner a boost in productivity as well as happiness levels amongst your colleagues.
Make sure you communicate effectively
In a confusing office where employees are used to receiving mixed messages from management, it can contribute to an unhealthy culture of fear and mistrust. It’s important to remember that this might not even be your fault. Many workers are used to a barrier between themselves and their bosses, and in some offices there is the unfortunate expectation that you can never truly voice your concerns as an employee.
To make sure your business works differently, you must learn to ask questions effectively so that your team feel free to communicate freely with you. Remember, most people won’t tell you the whole truth unless they feel connected to you and that they can trust you. It’s best to follow emotional cues, let people tell stories and create an environment of communication. Weekly team newsletters work really well for this, and help people feel like they know what’s going on around their office.
Nurture your team
Team building activities can help cultivate excellent team relations, thus motivating your employees and leading to a healthier work environment. Such activities can range from sporty events with actual teams – like paintballing or rock climbing – to something as relaxed and simple as a department meal. As well as this, be sure to reward progress and self-improvement by having a plan in place to provide employees with opportunities for growth.
Make sure you are a part of nurturing your employees as well by keeping yourself approachable and available. Make sure you know whether or not your staff are happy and if they feel they can go to you to talk about an unhealthy work environment. That way, problems can be solved as soon as they crop up, and your employees won’t have to worry about coming to you for advice or support. By operating with an ‘open door’ policy, you create a healthier, friendlier work environment where employees feel supported, appreciated and valued.