Having an effective team is key to achieving business goals and overall success, but there is more to being effective than just having the skills for the job. lEach member of a team can only perform well under two conditions: First, they must be in an environment that is conducive to productivity, and second, each employee must be in good health.
Many people forget the role their health plays in how well they do at work until they fall ill and take a sick day — a reminder that one cannot contribute when they are not at their best. Therefore, in people management, understanding why healthy employees are safer, happier, and more productive is of utmost importance.
The Relationship Between Health and Employee Performance
The typical justification for prioritizing employee health is to avoid employee absenteeism. The rationale is, if employees are not sick, then they can be present and commit to their responsibilities at work. However, more than just attendance, good health and productivity have also been found to be correlated, as participation in wellness programs improved the health of employees who then increased their productivity at work.
Other studies exploring mental health and employee engagement also found more nuanced psychological explanations for successful behavior. Apart from being happy and facing little to no mental distress, wellbeing was also defined as meeting basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. When someone is psychologically healthy at work, they feel that they are free to make choices and control outcomes while making social connections. Thus, psychological health and mental wellbeing are essential parts of professional growth.
Taking care of your employees’ physical and mental health enables them to be better people, and therefore, better employees. Healthy people are more able to do a variety of tasks, both simple and complex. With enough sleep and space for psychological wellness, your employees will be able to solve problems more easily than if they were fatigued or anxious. This makes health the number one priority.
Tips for Creating Health and Wellness in the Workplace
There are several ways that managers can leverage the resources available to them to prioritize health and wellness for their teams. Here are some useful tips you can follow.
1. Invest in Your Workspace
Work environments have been found to affect overall employee performance, so it only makes sense to make investing in the workspace a top priority. When making improvements, keep the focus on your employees’ physical health by choosing ergonomic pieces. These ensure that employees remain comfortable as they work and don’t develop habits that are detrimental to their health, such as slouching.
Even just an ergonomic office chair can make a world of difference, as standard chairs are the culprit behind back, neck, and shoulder pain in the workplace. Ergonomic chairs also have other benefits, such as improving circulation, so they are healthier and safer options than your standard office chair. You can also invest in a standing desk to discourage being sedentary for long periods!
2. Encourage Breaks
Nowadays, the working world is obsessed with “hustle,” often glorifying those who never take breaks from work. As the manager, it is up to you to reassure the team that breaks are normal and necessary for productivity. That way, they’ll get to decompress without feeling guilty, and they can return to work refreshed and motivated.
3. Join Wellness Programs
Wellness programs are an excellent way to boost employee engagement because they’re basically a more fun way to get to know colleagues — without the stresses of work. If your team members are hesitant to join exercise fitness programs like Zumba or eco-walks, then incentivize their participation in wellness programs. Soon, they’ll be playing ping-pong with your co-manager without your prompting and build better relationships at work!
With more and more employees returning to the workplace, ensuring that they are in good health is a greater priority than ever, especially with the Coronavirus not completely out of our hair yet. There are many ways to encourage better work, and making sure your team is healthy and happy enough to do it is one of the best ways. By investing in your people, what you’ll get in return will come tenfold.
Content specially written for hse-network.com
Content by: JBright