The new year is almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to start focusing on how you can support the health and happiness of your employees in 2023.
Employee wellness goes beyond just “doing right” by the people who work for you — a study from Oxford found that happy, engaged employees are 13% more productive, and a study from Gallup found that employee happiness can lead to a 41% drop in absenteeism.
The 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report, released by Wellable Labs, found that 90% of employers reported increasing their investment in mental health programs, 76% were increasing investment in stress management and resilience programs, and 71% were increasing investment with mindfulness and mediation programs.
This means that if you aren’t already thinking about how to support your employees’ physical and mental wellbeing, that your competition is way ahead of you!
Ready to create a healthier, happier workplace? Use these 10 tips to get started:
1. Add Greenery to the Workplace
We listed this one first because it’s easy, affordable, and makes a big impact.
Plants can transform your workspace from ho-hum into a cozy, welcoming environment where your in-person employees look forward to spending time.
Plants are known to reduce both psychological and physiological stress, and a study by the University of Exeter found that creating a ‘green’ office (vs. the lean, stark offices that were starting to become popular in the pre-pandemic years) can increase productivity by 15%.
Plants directly impact air quality, concentration, and satisfaction, so consider investing in hanging plants in windows, a plant wall, or simply encouraging employees to decorate their workspaces with their favourite leafy friends.
2. Declutter the Office
Studies have found that clutter in any form keeps the brain from being as active as it can be, and that clean spaces make us less irritable, reduce distractions, and can make us more productive.
Bright, airy offices can have a positive effect on employees. Some other things you can do to improve the office include:
- Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls and doors.
- Doing a “makeover” of the lounges, lobbies, and shared areas.
- Rearranging spaces and adding shelves and dividers for a sharp, organized look.
- Establishing “chill zones” with games and couches where employees can relax.
- Getting rid of old junk like used printer cartridges, broken furniture, and old files.
3. Provide Healthy Snacks and Drinks in a Communal Area
Sugary snacks cause employees’ to “crash” and feel sluggish after snacking, while healthy snacks help employees feel alert and awake. Some examples of items you can stock include:
- Nuts, especially walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and hazelnuts
- Fruit, especially apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Low-fat cheeses and crackers
Tip: check with your employees to ensure that nobody has any serious allergies before stocking your office kitchen!
Now that you’ve stocked your kitchen, it’s time to make your communal areas welcoming and actively encourage employees to sit together (or outside, weather permitting).
Lunch breaks are important and even a 20-minute break from the computer screen can refresh tired eyes and increase productivity for the rest of the day.
4. Encourage Activity Throughout the Week
One study showed that workday exercise can lead to a 72% improvement in time management and workload completed on days when employees exercised.
Low-intensity aerobic exercise is more effective than high-intensity exercise for improving productivity, so consider offering weekly lunchtime yoga, encouraging employees to cycle to work, and sponsoring gym memberships.
5. Offer Flexible Work Options
If possible, consider a “hybrid” workplace where employees come in a few days a week, but can choose to work from home on certain days as well. This shows your teams that you’re invested in helping them maintain a healthier work/life balance.
6. Encourage Vacation Time
Too many companies promote a culture of “presenteeism” which encourages employees to never take time off for vacations, personal days, or mental health days.
By openly and regularly talking about the importance of taking time away from work to focus on friends and family and encouraging employees to use their vacation time, you can show your employees that you respect that they have a life outside of the office.
7. Even Better, Offer Unlimited Vacation Time
This option may not work for every business, but Glassdoor found that 88% of company reviews about unlimited time off had a positive sentiment — a record high for the job site.
Unlimited PTO, or “Personal Time Off” might sound unfeasible, but one third of employees polled in a recent study from Allianz Global Assistance would give up part of their salary in exchange for unlimited vacation.
In addition to making your business a more appealing place to work, unlimited PTO (personal time off) has these added benefits:
- It saves your business money because you don’t have to pay for unused days off
- It saves HR teams having to track which category a paid day off belongs in (medical, personal, parental, etc.) or collect doctor’s notes to prove illness
- It increases employee productivity because they get the rest they need
- It reduces employee burnout because they can take a much-needed day off
- It attracts top talent because employees appreciate the work-life balance that comes with unlimited PTO
- It gets rid of the “December rush,” when employees use up any paid days off that they’d lose at the end of the year
8. Offer Training and Workshops
Investing in “upskilling” your employees improves morale, increases productivity, and saves on recruitment costs and ensures that your workforce are adaptable, agile, and are continually growing and learning.
9. Provide In-Office Health Checks
Bringing in professionals for checkups and health screenings promotes healthy living, self-care, and can help employees who struggle to make time in their schedules to book appointments with their doctors stay healthy and fit.
10. Get Involved in the Community
Volunteer and charity work are great ways for your business to give back while increasing employee engagement and creating cohesive teams. Some ways you can promote community activism include:
- Choosing a charity each quarter and raising money
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
- Participating in a Habitat for Humanity project
Create a Healthier, Happier Workplace in 2023
These suggestions are just some of the ways that you can improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction at work. If you’re still not sure where to start, ask your employees what kinds of perks they would prefer!
Promoting wellness in the workplace is more important than ever. Talk to us about bringing our lead for performance training to your organisation and make the investments in their employees that keep them happy and satisfied with their roles in the company.
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