Wellness in the Workplace: How You Can Make Your Company a Healthier Place to Work

Wellness in the Workplace: How You Can Make Your Company a Healthier Place to Work

This article was written by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce in support of and in partnership with LiveWell Frederick. We were given permission to cross-post this blog.

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Did you know that the average, full-time employee in the United States spends over 2,000 hours a week at work? When you consider that there are only a little over 8,000 hours in a year, that means you spend approximately 25% of your life each year working.

If you’re going to spend 25% of your time in a place, it is important that you want to actually be there, right?

Work environment hugely impacts your performance of course, but it also has an effect on your mood, as well as your mental and physical health. Which means that working in a place that makes you happy is better for life and business.

While there is no universal measure of what makes a workplace enjoyable, there are several factors that generally determine overall employee satisfaction. Things like pay, opportunities for advancement, flexibility, benefits, office culture, relationships with coworkers, and support for things like maternity/paternity leave all come into play.

Also a factor–overall workplace wellness.

Workplace wellness is any workplace health promotion activity or organizational policy designed to support healthy behavior in the workplace and to improve health outcomes.

As an employer, you can positively impact workplace wellness in four primary ways: ensuring your employees have a healthy physical environment to work in, maintaining a supportive working environment that allows for life outside of the office, developing a healthy work culture that respects and values employees, and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.

Business owners can help create a healthier place to work and contribute to workplace wellness by focusing on finding ways to attend to each of the four previously mentioned elements.

Here are some great ways to help you do that.

Wellness in the Workplace: How You Can Make Your Company a Healthier Place to Work

Ensure Your Workplace is Physically Healthy

Ergonomic furniture, proper lighting and air ventilation, clean and sanitized eating spaces–these are just a few of the ways that employers can help provide their employees with healthy work spaces.

You want the people who work for you to come into their workspace focused on work and not distracted by worries that have to do with physical health and safety. Creating a healthy physical environment for your employees not only eliminates distractions and increases production, it also makes them happier and more eager to remain a part of your company.

And, there are legal implications involved in providing a safe and healthy workspace for the people you employ. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration of the government is specifically tasked with assuring safe and healthful working conditions in workplaces across the country. So, eliminating occupational hazards and poor working conditions is not only what you should do as a good employer who respects and cares for their employees, it’s also the law!

Provide benefits that support employees.

Employees want their employers to appreciate the fact that they’re humans who have lives outside of the workplace. It’s called work-life balance and it is something that working professionals are clamouring to achieve.

While it may always remain measurably out of reach, the idea that work-life balance is a mantra equally supported by employee and employer goes a long way.

Maternity and paternity leave, bereavement time, opportunities to have a flexible work schedule when things like illness of children and other situations arise come to mind here. And, research has shown that these supportive practices not only lead to increased job satisfaction, but productivity as well.

In a recent survey given by The Creative Group, Diane Domeyer, Executive Director noted that “A flexible workplace, where employees have greater control over when and where they work, can improve productivity and job satisfaction. It can also be a big draw for professionals, helping companies attract and keep the best talent.”

Create a healthy workplace culture.

Workplace culture is defined as the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and set of assumptions of people in a workplace that is largely defined by the leadership and their strategic organizational directions.

A positive, healthy workplace culture leads to employee satisfaction and workforce retention, as well as greater efficiency and productivity–all things equally desired by both employees and employers.

Employers can help create a healthy culture by instilling core values and involving the employees in their development and implementation, encouraging teamwork and open communication, and creating an inclusive workplace where individual differences are valued.

Encourage your employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Walking meetings, team 5k’s, providing healthier catering choices at team events, smoking cessation programs and smoke free work environment policies, fitness center reimbursements, and on-site exercise classes and spaces all fit into this category of encouraging your employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.

While you’re not explicitly responsible for the overall health of your employees, healthy employees are happier, more productive, more efficient, and less costly to your business. A well workforce tends to be a working workforce and encouraging healthy living helps keep your employees healthy not only immediately, but long term.

Live Well Frederick, a wellness program designed to improve the overall health and well being of the Frederick, Maryland community, seeks to provide several of these elements–support, educational, and opportunity to engage in healthier practices–to all of Frederick’s residents.

Read the full article here.

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