It's a fact; a healthier, happier workforce is more productive, more loyal to their employers and generally 'better value' to their company. If your employees are tired, grouchy and maybe even a little out of shape and run down, it's not a good thing. It's bad for them, for you, or for your company as a whole. And while everyone will need to make some changes it is up to you to get the ball rolling.
Here are ten simple ways you can start working on today to help create wellbeing at work for everyone:
Make Sure Your Company has a Clear Vision and Values and That Employees Know What They Are
Making the effort to create a more collaborative company culture, one that has empathy and even philanthropy at its core and is easily understood by all is a must. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to merely hand down commandments from a lofty boardroom. Today's business climate calls for a company vision statement that everyone had a hand in creating and everyone understands.
Before you create your formal statement take the time to talk to your employees – all your employees – about it. You may gain insights – both good and bad – that had not even occurred to you before. in addition, the fact that they were respected enough to be asked their opinion on such an important topic is a great morale booster for any employee. And having had a hand in creating the company's mission they are less likely to be resistant to any changes that need to be made to achieve it.
Review all of your workspaces
Take the time to review all of the workspaces you provide to your employees. Then, seek ways to make them more efficient, more comfortable and most importantly, places that are as pleasant as possible for your employees to spend 8+ hours in five days a week.
To achieve this, you may have to do some reorganization, buy some new furniture and/or do some general redecorating and retooling. While this will obviously involve a financial outlay, the ROI in terms of a happier, more productive workforce is likely to be quite high.
Let There Be Light
According to the World Green Building Council, exposure to natural light during their working day can boost an individual's productivity by 18% and better indoor lighting in general increases overall work rates by up to 23%. This means that if your offices and workspaces are pretty dim it’s time for that to change.
Although it's probably not practical to knock holes in walls to add windows to windowless offices, it is possible to buy lighting – and light bulbs – that are designed to mimic natural light. It's also possible to repaint walls and ceilings in a lighter, more reflective colour. Battleship grey paint might be cheap and easier to clean, but boy does it make for a miserable workplace.
Care More About the Air
The World Green Building Council also has a lot to say about office air quality. They estimate that improved ventilation and air quality boosts productivity by 11%. Thermal comfort – making sure it's not too cold or too hot – will up that by another 3%. Perhaps most importantly though absences for illness can fall by up to 20%.
Therefore, if you haven't recently, it's time to call in the professionals and have your HVAC systems accessed for their effectiveness and, if necessary, adjusted and upgraded so that they do the best possible job.
Encourage a Quieter Space
Phones ringing, people babbling, keyboards clanking, and simple general background noise can make it hard for your employees to concentrate and do the best possible job they can.
While imposing library like conditions is a little hard – and harsh – encouraging, and helping create, a quieter, calmer workplace can be a serious boost for both employee well-being and productivity.
Try not to place general use phones in the centre of an open plan office and offer employees headsets for their own phones so they can concentrate on their conversations when needed instead of being distracted by others. If you don't have one already create an employee lounge space where people can gather to discuss ideas etc. away from the main work areas so that they can communicate effectively without distracting everyone else.
Try a Little Color Psychology
Did you know that psychology has been able to prove that the colors in their environment really do change people's moods? Yellow is great for getting creative juices going. Blue is fabulous for promoting focus and calm. Green reduces stress. Red can get people excited.
While you don't have to create a rainbow office, you should try incorporating the right colors for the right spaces into your office's overall decor plans. Blue for boardrooms perhaps – but a light blue, not a stuffy navy – and yellow for co-working spaces etc. You don't even have to repaint everything either. Pieces of art, furniture, even colored desks and chairs can all do the job just as well.
Encourage a Healthier Commute
In a recent survey, 45% of US employees reported that they found their commute to work stressful. If at all possible, why not encourage your employees to walk or bike to work instead? It's usually far less stressful than being stuck in traffic and obviously far better for their health as well. To make walking/biking to work more enjoyable offer cycle racks, showers, and lockers to those who do choose to do so.
If walking or biking isn't possible – and we get that it often is not – then making the investment in offering staff discounted gym memberships is an excellent idea to boost their wellbeing as well.
Help Your Employees Get Their Five a Day
Eating healthy isn't always easy when you are busy. And running out for fast food at lunchtime is often very quick and easy and therefore a tempting habit to fall into. help your employees avoid that unhealthy temptation by offering free fruit in break rooms, special eat and learn office meal sessions to discuss healthier eating or upgrade office kitchens so it is easier for employees to prepare healthy food at work.
Get People Moving
A number of studies were in the headlines last year as they had found that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day could essentially be as bad for a person's health and wellbeing as smoking. Therefore, it's crucial that your employees are encouraged to get up every hour and move. Even if they only walk to the kitchen to get a drink it's better than nothing and being encouraged to take proper breaks is a must as well.
Offer a Change of Scenery
Working at the same desk day in and day out can be more than boring, it can literally be depressing. And with all of Wi-Fi enabled tech available today there are actually very few reasons to do so.
To help create happier, healthier employees look into creating outdoor workspaces. They don't have to be fancy. A simple set of benches and tables where employees can take their laptops and work or sit and brainstorm ideas from colleagues can make a huge difference to employee morale and well-being.