A Healthy Workforce is a Motivated Workforce
July 21, 2021
By Gene Park
The success and productivity of a workforce go hand in hand with the health of its employees. If an employee isn’t feeling their best, both physically and mentally, they likely can’t give their all to the work they’re assigned. That’s why making employee health and wellness a priority can motivate your workforce — it increases their productivity which can contribute to your business’s success. In short, healthier employees are less likely to take time off and more motivated to perform at their best, and as a result, the organization’s revenue and business will feel the positive effects.
Companies with strong health and wellness programs can outperform others. A Global Wellness Institute study showed that companies who nurtured a culture of health — specifically focusing on the wellbeing and safety of their workers — outperformed in the stock market by a factor of 3:1. Today’s employees require an interactive, stress-free environment that can foster their creativity as well as provide them with mental and physical support.
Here are a few tips to ensure your workforce stays healthy.
Allow Employees to Take Effective Breaks
Today, many companies rely heavily on digital platforms to conduct their work. This may include laptops, monitors, zoom calls, smartphones, tablets, and more. With the heavy reliance employees now have on their digital devices to complete their daily tasks, comes the risk of virtual fatigue and employee burnout. This is a result of the constant interaction with artificial blue light from digital screens and constantly sitting stationary at their desks when using said screens. Of course, not all companies are the same, but most have begun to see the result of heavy screen time over the past couple of years.
To avoid employee burnout and virtual fatigue, allow employees to take frequent breaks from not only their devices but also their desks. Encouraging them to incorporate the Pomodoro technique into their work routine will help them stay focused on completing their tasks but also remind them to get up and take a 2-3 minute break every 25-30 minutes.
Outside of frequent breaks, another benefit the Pomodoro technique offers is a more productive work environment. It has been proven that employees can only maintain uninterrupted focus on a single task for about 10.5 minutes before becoming distracted. This loss of focus can then take about 23 minutes to get back on task. Using this technique will encourage your workforce to be as productive as possible while maintaining a positive work-life balance.
Encourage Employees to Stay on Top of Appointments
Despite how unnecessary your annual doctor's appointments can feel, these check-ups are essential to staying on top of your health. Employees should never avoid yearly exams with their doctors, even if they don’t have any concerns at the time of the appointment. Physical exams are a great way for employees to track their health, so if anything does arise, they’ll know if it’s out of the ordinary or not.
One part of the body that is constantly overlooked is our eyes. In fact, a recent study found that an adult will spend 13+ hours on screens per day. With the increased use of technology over the last decade, employees are at a greater risk for eye fatigue and vision changes. Vision tends to slowly change over time without you even realizing it, which is why it’s imperative that employees get their eyesight checked regularly. While it isn’t possible to force anyone to schedule an annual eye appointment, taking small steps to support your greater team's eye health is possible. Working long hours, especially if using a digital device, can take a toll on your eyesight. Buying blue light eyeglasses online can be done from the comfort of the home or work desk, requires no yearly appointment, and will decrease eye strain allowing employees increased focus. Blue light glasses won't need to be worn during all hours of the day but will be good to have on hand when employees' eyes start to fatigue.
Companies can encourage employees to stay on top of their healthcare visits by providing paid time off (PTO) specific to appointments, in addition to their regular PTO. Oftentimes employees skip these check-ins because they feel it’s a waste of their vacation time. A company might also consider offering the workforce a flexible working schedule. Flex time is a great option for employees as they can work their typical 8-hour day while having the ability to adjust their schedules 1-2 hours and make up their time later.
Allow Time for Employees to Incorporate Exercise
Living an active lifestyle positively impacts an individual in more ways than one. Thirty minutes of activity a few times a week can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve mental health and mood, help the body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, and control weight. It can also benefit your workflow and productivity. However, it can be difficult for employees to maintain this healthy balance when they are sitting stationary for the majority of their day. Implementing some light activity throughout the workday can raise energy levels, reduce stress and improve your general well-being — all of which can motivate your workforce to perform at their very best.
Penning an article for your organization’s newsletter or intranet that explains the benefits of office exercise and encourages employees to stretch or take walks during their breaks can motivate your workforce to live a healthier lifestyle. Many companies are also investing in ergonomic equipment that can help employees achieve healthy posture, relieve chronic pain, and increase brain function. If employees sit for multiple hours a day, ergonomic equipment along with exercise breaks can help employees maintain their health and, therefore, improve their productivity.
Help Employees Maintain a Balanced Diet
A great way to keep your body in good health is to eat a well-balanced diet. There are countless benefits to being aware of what you’re putting in your body. To name a few, eating well helps prevent disease, illnesses, and health complications, provides energy, allows for better sleep, and improves brain function. It can be difficult to shop for healthy food and prepare nutritious meals during a busy workweek. Providing employees with healthy snack options at the office or informing them of healthy local eateries surrounding your office can keep them nourished and energized throughout the workday. A well-balanced diet provides the important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are necessary to keep the body strong and healthy. So next time you stock up your company's kitchen, ditch the cupcakes and provide them with apples, bananas and nuts. Unlike processed sugars, an apple offers fiber, vitamin C, and plenty of antioxidants which provide the long-lasting energy needed to get through the day.
Incorporating these tips can make a huge impact on both the lives of the employees and the workforce in general. Small changes can make a big difference!