Creating a healthier workforce has a range of benefits for businesses, including increasing productivity, reducing sickness absence and boosting morale – all of which contributes to a healthier profit.
Research confirms that healthy employees can be up to three times more productive than their less healthy peers. And employees who exercise regularly, doing at least 30 minutes, three times a week, were 15% more likely to perform better at their job.
If that’s not enough, absenteeism was 27% lower for those workers who ate healthily and exercised on a regular basis.
It’s no wonder that employers are realising that the health of their staff is tied into the financial health of their business. Increasingly, business leaders are placing more priority on the wellbeing of their workers.
So let’s look at some of the ways we can get our staff match-ready and working at their best.
- Leadership participation
Lead by example. You’ll see more engagement with health initiatives if it comes from the top. When leaders are seen to be actively participating, it serves as an enabler to the rest of the workforce. What’s more, having a healthy workforce is an indicator of a well-managed company.
- Fitness breaks
It can be difficult for business leaders to see the benefit of allowing fitness breaks at work, but allowing staff to take a break to head off to the gym or take a run makes real sense.
We’ve shown some the benefits of a healthier workforce above, but one company in the US applied fitness breaks and reported a healthier and more productive workforce, with higher morale.
Employees at the company were allowed to block off an hour to exercise during the day, as long as it didn’t conflict with meetings. They were able to make up the time by having lunch at their desks or by staying later.
The result was a culture of fitness within the firm. The business grew quickly from a humble start-up to a tech firm with 700 workers – who were made up of elite athletes such as ultramarathoners, triathletes, hardcore hikers, even personal trainers.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that customers respond better to healthy, energised employees – after all, as consumers we’d all rather have our call answered or our query handled by a switched-on and motivated worker.
When we look after our staff, they’re more likely to present a positive public image for the business.
- Establishing a culture of health
One of the key ways to improving the health of your staff is to embed wellbeing into the company culture. This is more easily done when it’s tied into a business’s goals – and management will be more supportive when they can see real-term benefits such as increased productivity.
You can achieve this by building health into the business practice, from company policies to daily work activities.
For example, offer employees flexible working schedules, measure their fitness levels, set them realistic goals and allow them to contribute to decision-making. Think about providing healthier food options too. And if budgets allow, bring in treadmill workstations or create walking trails in and outside buildings.
Remember that a healthy workforce is not just about physical fitness, it’s a holistic approach to ensure they’re well both in mind and body.
By creating a healthy workspace, you can support employees in making lifestyle changes that will benefit both the business and themselves in the long-term.
- Wellbeing Initiatives
A Department for Work and Pensions (DwP) report showed businesses that implement wellbeing programmes enjoy a number of benefits:
- Sickness absence reduced by 45%
- Staff turnover down 18%
- Accidents and injuries decreased 16%
- Employee satisfaction up 14%
When fitness and well-being initiatives are introduced to a business, it can be hugely beneficial to its success, and the longer-term benefits should cover the initial outlay.
In the DwP study, businesses that had implemented health and wellbeing programmes reported a return on investment. In one example, a manufacturing company that made ergonomic improvements recorded a 4:1 cost ratio. In other words, for every £1 spent, it recovered £4.17 in programme benefits.
It’s essential to communicate the availability of fitness and health programmes, and highlight the benefits. The more you communicate to staff, the more engaged they’ll be.
It makes perfect sense that the health of employees should be on the corporate agenda, since staff spend most of their lives at work. With benefits including improved service delivery, better outcomes for individual staff, and the costs of sickness reduced, making the health of your workforce a priority is a win-win for all concerned.
Ways To Create A Healthier Workforce: Staff will respond when you lead by example. Offer them gym membership through Gympass’s scheme and see how you can help them become more productive.