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Employee Wellness: Workplace Health Tips

Kate William

9 min read

I was at the office when my friend called me asking for a therapist’s recommendation. I immediately gave her some of the names that popped up in my head and asked whether she’s comfortable telling me what it is about.

“It’s work! I’m burning out!” – She said in an exhausted voice!

Well, you know how it is. It only gets worse by the time. Cutting to the chase, employee wellness and employee mental health should not be on the last in the priority list anymore. Employee wellness has become something most companies take seriously today. Nonetheless, some are still living under a rock. If you’re still wondering whether employee wellbeing matters, let us explain!

Workplace wellbeing has a lot to do with the performance of the employee. If the workplace doesn’t provide a good atmosphere, it can take a toll on the employee and thus indirectly on the company as well. Employee wellness has indeed been paying off for those who took it seriously.

Why Employee Wellness though?

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, employers who invest in health and wellness saw savings of an average of $6 in healthcare. Furthermore, some researches have found out that employees who are satisfied with their working atmosphere are 16% more productive and 18% more likely to stay in their company. Those are not insignificant numbers worth avoiding. If you’re an employer and have been thinking about this but had no clue where to start, here is your headstart.

Conduct online surveys to get an insight into employee satisfaction first. Still, confused how? That’s where SurveySparrow has come to your rescue. We help you craft effective surveys to get a rich insight into your employee satisfaction. And thus evaluate employee engagement. Our Employee Satisfaction Survey is one of the popular templates that we offer. So without any delay, let’s take a look at the other workplace health tips for employee wellness.

Take it Slow and Steady!

Most of the time there’s this tendency among employers to overdo things in the attempt to revolutionize everything. That may or may not work. But mostly, you don’t have to turn the whole thing upside down to make things work. Simple solutions can go a long way as well.

Surveys conducted around the world have revealed astonishing results from the employees. When it comes to corporate wellness, it also, at a point, becomes a source of pressure for the employees. Which is the opposite of what the case should be. Instead of huge investments in gym equipment, small changes such as access to fresh air and incorporation of natural light can be a game-changer. You know better, how tiring it can be to work in a closed and dark cabin.

Personalized Workspace

Mental health and physical health are always intertwined. Targeting only on the physique will go nowhere if you don’t work on your mental health. And admit it, it’s frustrating to not have control over what you do or where you choose to work. Rigid designs can take a mental toll on the employees.

“People are frustrated with everyday designs. Everyday life sometimes seems like a never-ending fight against confusion, continued errors, frustration, and a continual cycle of updating and maintaining our belongings.” Says Don Norman in his book ‘The Design of Everyday Things’.

According to him a human-centred design or good design gives the user “a feeling of control, of mastery, and of satisfaction or even pride.” Which are all strong positive emotions. Similarly, a bad design/technology has the potential to make us feel confused, frustrated, and even angry, which are all strong negative emotions. If your policies are rigid which provides the least liberty to your employees at their desk, you’re taking a huge risk. A standing desk or even a bean bag can give them more freedom in their workspace. Letting the employees customize the desk by adding their personality to it can also make them more productive at the desk. 

Encourage Physical Activities

  A 9 to 5 job means 9 to 5 slouching. And it strips off a great chunk of physical movements from our daily lives. An investment in simple workout equipment such as a treadmill will be tremendously helpful. Apart from the physical benefits of exercise, like increased energy, lower blood pressure, strengthening of bones and muscles, studies have revealed plenty of psychological benefits as well.

            ▪Reduces Stress & Anxiety

            Exercise can act as a mood booster, or it can even reduce the symptoms of depression. Well, let’s just address the elephant in the room. Stress, anxiety, and depression are like a package that comes with our workload. Daily stress piles up into anxiety which gradually forms into depression. Physical activities can increase endorphin levels which is the sole reason in making us feel good after a good exercise. Taking steps to encourage your employees to use the stairs instead of the elevator may sound trivial, but it can change the game in the long run. A healthy employee is always an asset to his/her company.

          ▪ Improves Brainpower

            Studies have proven that physical activity increases creativity. Surprised? Well, there’s more! Good cardio can even create new brain cells! This was proven in studies conducted on mice and humans. Exercise also protects memory and reduces the risk of memory loss in the long run. Besides the advantage of staying active, physical activities strengthen the hippocampus, which is the part responsible for learning and memory. Seems like a walk-meeting is a great idea to help you create something big!

          ▪ Increases Self-Confidence.

            The tempting part of the exercise has always been the physical transformation. From weight loss to toned muscles, we want them all. And with a better physique comes better self-esteem and confidence. When you’re able to pull your favorite shirt off like a boss, the feeling is on a whole new level. And guess what! I’m with you on this. A good-outfit-day is indeed a good day!

         ▪ Improves Sleep

            Blinking at the dark ceiling for hours before sleeping or tossing and turning in sleep is the real nightmare. When you so badly want to sleep but your body is not allowing is certainly horrible. A good sleep, on the other hand, is the holy grail for overall wellbeing.

               Dr. Matthew Walker in his book ‘Why We Sleep’ explains, “Sleep enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious.” What more do you want to crave more sleep! So take the first step, move a bit more than you did yesterday!

    Besides, to keep staying fit in the long run, you’ll have to keep fit at home as well. So always take care of your workout regimen at home as well

Smoke-free Workplace!

That’s a big step to take. A lot of companies are switching from their already smoke-free environment to incorporating smoking corners in their office. Well, considering it as a ‘cool’ thing to do can be a foolish idea. Although smoke-breaks are considered as a ‘stress-reliever’ the long-term ill effects of smoking are not unknown. Encouraging the smoking habit of a few employees, in reality, harms their non-smoking colleagues.

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information(NCBI), requiring all workplaces to be smoke-free would reduce smoking prevalence by 10%. Furthermore, smoke-free workplaces not only protect non-smokers from the dangers of passive smoking but also encourage smokers to quit or to reduce the consumption of tobacco. Still on the fence deciding why you would opt for a smoke-free workplace? Here are your reasons:

Smoking causes problems such as:

           ▪ Heart disease

           ▪ Chronic respiratory conditions

           ▪ Cancer

           ▪ Reduced life expectancy

           ▪ Diabetes

           ▪ Bacterial and Viral infections…

And the list goes on.

Healthy Food At Reach!

    As one-third of an individual’s life is spent at the workplace, workplace wellbeing is as important as the rest. It’s hard to keep a balanced diet at the office when you’re more prone to junk food. Some steps you can take to influence your employees’ diet are;

       ▪ Provide Kitchen Facilities at the Office

Decent kitchen space can contribute a lot to this marathon of employee wellness. Not only will it allow the employees to store their food, but it can also be a stress reliever for some. Cooking can be a great stress-buster. So instead of considering unhealthy habits like smoking as a stress reliever, how about trying out a quick and healthy recipe for your lunch! Just by providing a kitchen space, we can install a huge change in the overall lifestyle. Rather than pushing the employees to go for the processed and unhealthy food outside the office, this will play as a rescuer from an unhealthy lifestyle.

      ▪ Help Them Stay Hydrated!

      That may sound childish. But we’re all a bit lazy when it comes to drinking water. Of course, there are apps to remind you to drink water. But yet, doesn’t it feel like too much effort to refill your bottles sometimes? This can be solved by incorporating water dispensers at easy-to-reach places or even a drinking water fountain would do the magic!

But if you wanna make it more fun and creative, how about some funny pop-up reminders on their screen! Thoughtful, isn’t it?

      ▪ Take Care of Your Parties!

      Parties are a great hijacker to our good-going healthy lifestyle. Your employee would have, with great difficulty, managed to avoid unhealthy food by fighting a huge battle with her willpower, and then you throw a party which is a grand feast of unhealthy food. Big NO! Even when you throw parties, be selective of what you provide at the party. Nutritional food, yes. Processed and junk, always no! To promote employee wellness, it’s the small steps that bring a huge difference.

    ▪ Verbally Advocate/Promote Healthy Eating

   Sometimes a little preaching won’t hurt anyone. Even though these are common knowledge and everybody knows what and what not to do, at times, we need to hear it from someone else. And that pushes us even further. Remember, your environment has a greater influence on your decisions than you think.

Nap Breaks!

Yes, you heard it right! Taking naps amidst work may sound counterproductive, but it’s just the opposite of it. A quick nap of 20-30 minutes can boost one’s productivity, alertness, concentration and thereby reduces mistakes and accidents. Human, by nature feels the most tired at mid-afternoon and midnight. We are designed to take a mid-afternoon nap, according to the recent studies conducted by sleep researchers.

When earlier, beliefs were that the drowsiness felt during mid-afternoons is due to the heavy lunch one has eaten, new studies bashed this. It’s more about the time than the quantity of food we eat. Companies like Google, Nike, Uber, Zappos all provide a snooze-friendly policy to their employees. Google’s nap pods have indeed dragged a lot of our attention during the time. It’s time we adopt and practice these policies on a wider range!

Yoga, Meditation, and Wellbeing

If you’re thinking yoga and meditation in the workplace will only shave off another hour from your work, you’re wrong. Because all you need is a 5-minute meditation break or pranayama in a couple of minutes. Some of the obvious benefits of mediation include;

   ▪ Reduces Stress

   Amidst the files piled up at the desk, one may be piling up stress along with it as well. A quick session of meditation helps one stay grounded and take control of one’s tasks at hand and helps her reduce the stress load.

   ▪ Improves Focus

   Surrounded by chaos, it’s often hard to focus. The gibberish that keeps echoing in the background and the noise from various machines can all be a hindrance in focusing on the task. Sparing a few minutes for a breathing exercise helps one to shut down all those chaos and bring his attention back to work.

   ▪ Boosts Creativity

   Meditation gives you instant clarity of thought and thereby helps you think outside the box or increases creativity. It’s hard to even think inside the box with a messier head.

   ▪ Better Cognitive Ability

  A study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information(ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979) states that mindful meditation causes changes in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is responsible for learning and memory. It also states that mindfulness practice causes an increase in the regional grey matter density.

   ▪ Organized Thoughts

   Last but not least, meditation organizes our messy head. What more can you ask from a simple practice!

Recreation

Staring on the screen for hours will burn you out by the end of the day for sure. If you can’t treat your eyes with the greenery of nature, then you can treat your eyes with the green pitch of a snooker table! Recreation refreshes us and boosts our energy. The company does not necessarily need to build an entire indoor stadium for that, as there are tons of indoor games like table tennis and snooker, which require less space and hardly demand one to switch to sports outfits.

Summing Up

So that’s about it, folks! Employee wellness should be something that every employer/company takes seriously. As one-third of a day of a worker’s day is spent at the office, employee wellness is a crucial step to take. Corporate wellness often makes the impression that it is trivial and the company can easily get away without paying any heed to it. But gradually, it takes a huge toll on the employer! As mentioned above, there’s no need for a huge makeover for progress.

It’s, as in the popular saying, the small things that matter the most. Even a sunlit desk can bring great improvements to employee wellness. Or maybe it can be the soft music that plays in the background. Or even taking some time out to gather with colleagues to have a good laugh will soothe the atmosphere and thereby add on to the goal of employee wellness. So what are you waiting for then? Change the game!

 

Kate William

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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