Productivity is a regular common denominator among successful businesses. Without a productive workforce, a business isn’t likely to reach its fullest potential or meet its objectives successfully. Independent studies by Gallup were conducted on the well-being and productivity of almost 2 million employees and the performance of more than 80,000 business units. The findings concluded that there’s a strong correlation between employee well-being, productivity, and the performance of a firm.
If this is the case, how can a business work towards higher levels of productivity? According to the Gallup study, an area to focus on to lead to increased productivity is boosting employee health and well-being. As a business owner, you should invest more resources in this area, whether it be through providing in-house childcare to free gym memberships or offering healthy and nourishing snacks. On that note, here is why you should prioritize your employee’s health and well-being.
Why Health and Well-being are Important
Have you ever tried to work on days you were under the weather or stressed due to personal problems? When employees are unhappy and unhealthy, they’re likely not engaged with their work, and this could cost your business money. A report by The Engagement Institute found that disengaged employees cost companies in the US up to $550 billion annually.
Furthermore, studies have found that highly engaged teams create 21% greater profitability for their companies. The reality is that the more engaged your employees are, the better they perform. Unhealthy employees are costly for your business as they’re likely to take more days off — lost productivity due to absenteeism connected to poor health costs the US $24.2 billion among professionals. Research suggests for every dollar spent on wellness, you could save $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs.
These findings reinforce the idea that healthier employees are, the higher your chances are of running a successful business. If you want the best possible output from your employees, they should be in a highly functional space mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Ways to Prioritize Employee Health
When it comes to prioritizing employee health, there are numerous ways of doing it. You could develop a wellness program with a focus on helping employees improve their physical or mental health. An example of a company with a good wellness program is Asana. Not only do they pay their employees to nap in their company provided “nap rooms,” but they also offer regular yoga and free gym memberships, and meals from in-house culinary staff.
Below are a few ideas your company could try to prioritize health and well-being.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
If your employees are spending a typical 8- to 10-hour day at work, that means they’re eating one or two meals during work hours. The meals they eat can affect their mood and productivity, so consider encouraging, or even providing healthy meals or snacks.
Fitness is another aspect of a healthy lifestyle that should be encouraged. Consider having onsite fitness classes that enable efficient workouts. Examples of activities include jumping rope and cardio to get their hearts beating, or even yoga or meditation to de-stress, loosen up, and relax.
Find Ways to Reduce Stress
Stress is a common issue in the workplace, but this isn’t anything new. There are several causes of workplace stress, but a leading one happens to be workload. Studies show that over 40% of workers experience high stress at work, and it negatively impacts their productivity, health, and family stability.
As an employer, you aren’t legally responsible for mental stress and anxiety caused in the workplace unless a physical injury occurs as a result. If an injury does occur in the workplace or as a direct result of the work an employee is performing, they are eligible for workers’ compensation. It’s in a company’s best interest to make sure employees are working in comfortable and safe environments to avoid any issues related to their job functions. One innovative way of reducing employee stress is to encourage them to spend 20% of their working hours on personal development. Electric vehicle company Chanje has done this using a formal program that consists of coaching, meditation, journaling, and more.
An additional way to reduce stress for employees is to create a flexible working environment. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report shows that employees who spend 60-80% of their time working off-site are likely to have the highest workplace engagement. Consider letting employees work from home a percentage of the work week so they have more autonomy and can better manage their personal and work lives.
Improve Employee Benefits
The benefits package you offer employees is one of many things that will set you apart from the competition. An excellent employee package can result in reduced turnover and a better business reputation. Make a continuous effort to improve your employee benefits so your staff feels valued and appreciated. Here are a few specific benefits you can consider.
Stock Options: Giving employees a chance to purchase shares in your company is a benefit that provides long-term financial rewards. It’s also a way of rewarding them for being a part of the growth of the business. Starbucks sets a good example when it comes to offering these types of employee perks as they consider all of their employees’ partners. They provide opportunities to purchase Bean Stock at a reduced price, among other perks.
Life Insurance: Another employee benefit is providing life insurance as a way of creating security. If employees know that you care about their well-being long-term, it’s away of building loyalty and potentially keeping them around for longer. Aside from offering life insurance, other creative financial benefits to provide are student loan help, flexible healthcare spending accounts, and commuting costs.
Maternity and Paternity Leave: People can often feel like they have to choose between work and family, so offer incentives that encourage both. Seeing as the US ranks last in maternity and paternity leave benefits, include a competitive leave benefit in your packages for employees. Paid and extended leave for new parents could reduce stress when it comes to balancing work and family.
Written by: Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor