When I spoke at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair last month I asked this question:
Why companies are responsible for the health and wellness of their employees?
Would you leave a machine to run your business without applying the proper maintenance check? Health and wellness in the workplace influences sick days taken, how staff represent your company - do they look tired and overworked? In turn these factors influence productivity, retention of staff and ultimately the success of your company. So what can companies do?
1. Culture of health and wellness
Develop a culture of health and wellness as part of the work place. Make it part of your company ethos. If you actively encourage a healthy workplace you will find your staff will continue that. I truly believe people want to be healthier.
a. For an in house client meeting order from a healthy organic deli and offer fresh salads and fruit instead of sandwiches, cakes and cookies.
c. Set up lunch time workshops for staff to learn about a wide variety of subjects that impact their health and wellness. I talk about posture and alignment and how to minimise the risk of desk related aches and pains. Often experts in their field will come and speak for free.
d. Offer an ergonomics assessment to all your staff. Actively encourage good posture and movement throughout the day by recommending staff leave their desk for lunch. Have a water cooler that staff can walk over to throughout the day.
2. Reward value not volume
If you put in place a rewards system based on being available day and night on the blackberry, working late into the night, setting up competition between your team members on who can stay at the office the longest, employees will do what they need to one keep their careers and two get ahead. Over time this will not serve you or the employees. Create a culture of rewarding value not volume of work. This is a tough one as every company competes for business and has deadlines to fulfill. However, a job well done which takes a little extra time is much better than a rushed shoddy job. Giving employees a feeling of pride over their work is also part their of health.
Again you can begin with small changes. What and how you reward will be individual to each company.
what would be more costly to your business - a budget for health and wellness that retains staff and increases productivity or replacing the same position 3 times in 18 months? Set aside a budget for health and wellness as part of the maintenance of your company. Any benefits that you can offer employees particularly ones that take care of their health and wellness are always greatly received and play an important part in staff retention.
a. Instead of going out for a big lunch to celebrate the company anniversary do something interactive and fun like a game of dodgeball.
b. Take a team bonding day with a private walking tour around an art gallery.
c. For the company Christmas party arrange a healthy cooking workshop that is interactive and ends with a big festive meal.
You can also consult health experts and consultants about implementing a bespoke structure that will work for your company. I personally think a cost efficient and relatively easy way is to build health and wellness lectures and workshops into company lunch times or friday afternoons acts as a continual reminder, motivation and inspiration to employees to take care of their health. This is one of the things I do.
The facts are simple - a healthy workforce makes a healthy successful company. If you are not actively promoting health and wellness in your company you are missing a trick. Look at what the 46 healthiest companies in America are doing....
The health and wellness of employees is not just the responsibility of the company. Find out how you as an employee can take responsibility for your health and wellness, whether your company promotes it or not, in Part 2 of this blog.