10 Ways to Improve Your Employee Health  

Employee health affects your employees’ personal and professional lives. Find out how to improve your employees’ health to drive business success.

July 1, 2020 By Guest Author Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
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Employee health is vital to your employees’ personal lives, as well as their professional performance. It is also a crucial part of employee experience as a whole. 

The key to any successful business is the employees. They are the first point of contact between your customers and your product or service. Your employees represent your business and by extension yourself. 

So, it is fair to say that it is important to ensure that employees are in the best position to conduct the duties required of them. This includes being healthy and in the right frame of mind.  

That is why experts believe employers must focus on the health and wellbeing of their staff. When they do, employee morale, productivity and retention improve. 

In this piece, we will explain what employee health means and why it is important for any successful business. We will also explore some tips for encouraging healthbehaviors and environment for your employees.  

📰 First, get these surveys to check your employees’ health and wellbeing during and after COVID-19 outbreak. 

What Is Employee Health 

Employee wellbeing is a broader term that also encompasses employee health. However, many professionals and companies use them interchangeably. 

Over last couple of decadesemployee wellbeing has become an HR buzzword with many professionals talking about it. It is about how your employee feel about different aspects of their life. This includes everything from their home life to their health, relationship, finances and job. 

what is employee health

In that sense, employee health covers the immediate health of employeesHowever, employee health is not just about physical aspect of health – it also covers mental health. In other words, it is not just a question of health and safety of your staff while they are at work.  

Benefits of Employee Health 

Various factors can affect your employees’ health. While there is little you can do to control their home life, there are certain elements within the work environment that you can control.  

These include their workload, work setting, work-life balance, workplace relationships, job security, autonomy and more. 

Elements such as workloads and work settings can lead to mental and physical health consequences which lead to decreases in productivity and concentration as well as increases in absenteeism and turnover. 

Furthermore, various studies have highlighted the link between physically and mentally healthy staff members and a productive workforce.  

While employee health brings with it many advantages, this piece will focus on the benefits that have a positive effect on the company’s return on investment (ROI).  

Increased productivity 

According to research by FirstCare, the cost of lost productivity to the UK economy has been on an upward spiral since 2011. In 2017 the cost was at £18 billion a year and they predict that by 2020 this figure would reach £21 billon and my 2030 £26 billion. By focusing on employee health, companies can drastically reduce these productivity-related costs. 

cost of poor employee health

Reduced absenteeism 

Similar to productivity, absenteeism has a drastic effect on the overall output of your business and the economy as a whole. Workplaces that focus on health and wellbeing experience reductions in absences as they focus on developing positive health behaviour and learn stress management skills. According to research from Harvard Business Review, for every pound a business spends on employee health they save two pounds in reduced absenteeism.  

Improved employee retention

It costs more money to hire someone new than it does to keep an existing employee. In fact, studies found that it costs a company twice as much to recruit an employee than it does to pay them for their first year of work.  

employee retention

You have to consider the actual cost of onboarding a new staff member, not to mention the time other employees spend training them. With that in mind, it is in your best interest to invest in efforts that would lead to a reduction in turnover. And yes, this includes employee health and wellbeing efforts.  

Enhanced employee experience 

As employee experience deals with everything that employees encounter in a workplace, it also encompasses employee health. Your employees must know that their health matters to you, as many did during COVID-19 outbreak. 

📰 Read all about how world renown companies have taken care of their employees during pandemic. 

Including wellness initiatives or regular health screenings in your employees’ benefits portfolio can add to your employer branding efforts, too. Moreover, some companies use Wellbeing apps to track, monitor and improve their employees’ health and wellbeing. 

Other general benefits of focusing on employee health 

As well as the above, it should go without saying that positive employee health experience has other intangible benefits to your employees’ physical and mental stateThus, when employees adopt and maintain healthier habits, they are able to reduce health risks and by association their absence from work. 

Tips for Boosting Employee Health and Wellbeing 

Like we have mentioned above, employee health extends beyond the physical health of your staffAs well as that, it is about how they feel about their work and work activities including workload, expectations, stress levels and overall work environment.  

Above everything, employee health is about optimizing the health of your workforce and following up on its health-related needs. With that in mind, here are some tips for effective ways to improve employee health in your company. 

1. Natural lighting 

If you can afford an office refurbishment you should allow for natural lighting as studies show that sunlight increases employee wellbeing, happiness and even overall job performance. If you don’t have the budget for a refurb, other options to consider include; adding mirrors to reflect the natural lighting you have, use see-through partitions and cubicles instead of solid ones, move large objects deflecting the flow of sunlight.  

2. Mental health awareness 

Above we highlighted the cost of absences to the UK economy, and with one in six workers in the country dealing with some sort of mental health condition, this figure should not come as a surprise. Offering benefits such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) means your staff can have access to counselling for stress management, anxiety, depression and more. 

3. Flexible work options 

Flexible working has become highly popular over the last few years. Allowing your employees to work remote has many benefits, like boosting employee motivation and morale. It also signals that you trust your staff to carry on with their work in their own time.  

flexible work benefits

4. Team relationships 

While no one expects their employees to be best friends with each other, it is important that they actually get along. Consider implementing team-building exercises, lunches and nights out, informal meetings, interdepartmental competitions and more to encourage positive working relationships.  

As well as supporting a fun and sociable environment to work in, it also means employees are likely to be more willing to share their ideas and opinions with their colleagues.  

5. Enable autonomy 

Your staff want more control over what they do and how they do it. While all positions come with its own set of goals, employees feel more motivated and fulfilled when they are allowed to set some of their own goals and strategies on how to reach them. Research from the Birmingham business school shows a correlation between workplace autonomy and feelings of wellbeing. 

6. Employee recognition and rewards 

Employees want appreciation for all their hard work. This does not always have to be with cash or expensive gifts. It can also be in the form of praise or a simple ‘thank you’ note. 

employee recognition templates

Employee recognition is a proven way to affect your employees’ job satisfaction, productivity and more. See how you can encourage healthy employee habits and culture of appreciation with our Recognition and Rewards Platform JobPts. 

7. Grant sabbaticals 

Your employees all have a dream. Whether it is to travel the world or invent something or even go into space. However, in reality we all have to work to afford our lifestyles. To ensure you support your staff in achieving their dreams, you can allow them time off work to work on their personal goals. As well as ensuring their loyalty to your company, it also allows them to bring new skills back to the company upon their return. 

8. Bike to work days 

As well as making your employee physically healthy, it also knocks off their commute to work. To encourage this, consider cycle to work days, bike awareness month or even offering loans for staff to buy bicycles. You can add some aspect of competition to improve employee engagement with this effort.  

9. Encourage personal development 

No one wants to be stagnant in their personal life or career. In the workplace, employees want to feel like they are on a path that leads them to their overall goals. One way to do this is to find out what their ambitions are and support their development.

millennials in the workplace

10. Practice mindfulness 

A huge part of employee wellbeing involves handling stress. Encourage your workforce to take time out to become more aware. This includes awareness of themselves and their surroundings. With this skill, they are also able to handle themselves better and keep negative thoughts in check during stressful situations.

Author: David Price

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