Social Responsibility

Creating a healthy workplace pays dividends

August 2018

Many benefits flow from having a healthy workplace for both employees and employers. Benefits include higher morale, increased productivity, and happier staff. It pays to invest in promoting a healthy workplace and in this article we present a few simple ideas for you to consider.

A clean and comfortable workspace

Whether you operate a factory, warehouse or office, a clean, organised and clutter-free workplace will promote wellbeing among your people. Heightened employee wellbeing brings better productivity.

Your employees devote a large part of their lives to being in your workplace. If you want them to perform at their best you need to give them a comfortable environment in which to work. Therefore, ensure that an appropriate level of lighting and temperature control exists for the types of work activity. All equipment must be safe, and all furniture must be comfortable. Make sure the workplace is cleaned regularly by appointing a professional cleaning firm.

Providing a clean and comfortable work environment shows you care about your employees’ wellbeing. If your staff have a workspace they are happy and comfortable in, they are more likely to perform to their maximum level.

Promote the right work-life balance

Have a good look at your business culture. Do you expect your staff to work significant overtime or through their lunch breaks? This is a good indicator of your attitude to work-life balance.

A poor work-life balance often reveals itself in high staff turnover. Is your staff turnover higher than your industry standard? If so, why? Make some changes that might encourage a better work-life balance such as:

  • limiting access to email communications while on leave
  • imposing an end-of-day limit on after-hours business communications such as emails, phone calls and texts
  • offering flexible working hours
  • allowing staff to work from home sometimes
  • organising occasional social events 

Making some of these changes shows you have your employees’ health and wellbeing in mind. They will repay you with lower turnover and higher productivity. And, practice what you preach.

Encourage healthy activities

The essence of a healthy workplace is healthy employees. Although not for everyone, try offering healthy snack alternatives and support lunchtime walking or running groups. There may be a local gym that would like to team up by offering discounts to your staff or running in-house training sessions. You can also make subtle changes to your business culture by scheduling meetings away from your premises; you could even consider walking meetings.

Breaks are healthy too, so encourage your employees to take their lunch breaks and to make full use of their annual leave entitlement.

Promote positive mental health

Every year, one-in-five Australians will experience mental health issues (source: Mindframe). Mental health is every bit as important as physical health; your employees can’t perform at their best if they’re stressed, overworked, and fatigued. A healthy workplace must be all encompassing, supporting every aspect of health including: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Poor mental health affects concentration, can create conflict, makes people less tolerant, and results in higher absence levels. This all has a knock-on effect on business performance.

Employees often don’t feel able to speak up when suffering mental health issues. Therefore, create an environment where employees can feel comfortable speaking to someone about mental health by, for example:

  • Running some mental health workshops to educate employees
  • Putting support in place for anyone suffering mental health issues now or in the future
  • Creating your own mental health policy and involving staff in the process

A healthy workplace contributes to a healthy business

There are no downsides to creating a healthy, clean and comfortable workplace. It promotes professionalism and creates happy, healthy and loyal employees. Put all this together and you have greater productivity and less absence, which all contribute to a healthier business.  

Author: Bruce Saward

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