Do you want to improve the health and culture of your team in the new year? If you’re not sure where to start, pay attention to these eight key aspects of employee health and wellness. Doing so will not only enrich your employees’ lives but will also boost your organization’s productivity and profitability. While taking a universal approach to company wellness might be easier, paying special attention to these wellness categories allows you to get to the root of your team’s problems and makes your corporate wellness initiatives most effective.
Is your team constantly complaining about being tired? Are they looking forward to the weekend to catch up on sleep? Do they always seem irritated and on edge? If so, sleep could be lacking. We all know that sleep is an important part of wellness. It’s ingrained in us from childhood that a healthy eight hours of sleep is crucial to prevent long-term illness. But could sleep be impacting your team’s productivity as well?
In one study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, workers were surveyed about their health and sleep, including how much sleep they got per night and whether or not they had any sleep-related issues (like insomnia). The study compared workers’ sleep habits to their productivity and profitability and found that, on average, each employee with insomnia cost their employer $3,156 in lost productivity costs while each employee with fewer sleep issues cost their employer $2,500. The study’s four participating organizations lost about $54 million per year due to sleep-related reductions in productivity.
Encourage employees to prioritize sleep every night. Not only will they feel better with more rest, but they will perform better as well. More sleep can also reduce health problems and help avoid burnout and sick days, leading to an increase in overall wellbeing.
Are you noticing your team skipping out on meals or resorting to fast food? Are many of your employees struggling with obesity? According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, the annual medical costs for obese employees are $1,429 to $2,741 higher than those for employees of a healthy weight. Additionally, unhealthy eating has been linked to a 66% loss of productivity.
Discover the root of the problem and set them up for nutritional success. Normalize taking lunch breaks and investing in healthy food and snack options. If your team consistently doesn’t make healthy food choices, dig into their motivation, and learn why. Is it a lack of budget, time, or education? Discover their “why” and use your company resources to close that gap.
Of course, exercise contributes to maintaining a healthy weight just as much as nutrition does, but Harvard Business Review says that exercise alone also has an impact on your mental state. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can result in improved concentration, sharper memory, prolonged mental stamina, and enhanced creativity—all of which are sure to benefit your employees. In fact, one study quoted in the Harvard Business Review article notes that when employees exercised during the workday, they “reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive and having smoother interactions with their colleagues,” and they also “went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.”
If your team is not exercising, discover why. If they feel they don’t have the time to exercise, normalize taking gym breaks. Encourage them to use their lunch hour to work out. Suggest walking meetings to get people moving. Encourage your team to play sports or do yoga together. Maybe that means adding a gym or yoga studio to the office. A fit team benefits the entire company, so involve fitness in the culture as much as possible.
- Stress management
Your team can eat healthy diets and exercise all they want but if they’re highly stressed, their productivity and creativity will still suffer. Unfortunately, stress is all too rampant in the workplace. Not only does workplace stress negatively impact employees’ physical and mental health, but it also impacts their productivity, and your organization’s turnover rates. Luckily, workplace stress is preventable if you take the initiative to implement the right preventative measures.
Start by checking up on every employee. Do they have the resources, time, and budget to fulfill business goals? Listen to their qualms and take action. It is leadership’s responsibility to ensure that there are realistic business goals and that everyone is setup for success. Employees also need to take breaks so that they don’t face burnout. Encourage taking breaks to get outdoors or meditate. A happy team is a productive team.
Toxic, health-related behaviors, such as excessive smoking, drinking and unhealthy eating, can really do a number on your employees’ overall wellbeing. One study from Brigham Young University, the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), and the Center for Health Research at Healthways found that behaviors such as these can lead to greater instances of “presenteeism,” or the act of being present at work, but not performing optimally. Helping your employees “detoxify” these bad habits from their lives can reduce the likelihood of presenteeism. Add coaching programs to help your employees in these areas.
Drinking more water each day can feel like a chore, but doing so comes with big benefits, especially where your employees’ productivity and mental stamina is concerned. In fact, just a 1% change in hydration can have seriously negative effects, as NPR references one study that showed that participants who were 1% dehydrated committed approximately 12% more errors when faced with a mental task, compared to a properly hydrated individual.
Encourage employees to stay hydrated. Set up water fountains or have free water bottles or pitchers of water readily available. Make it easy for your employees to stay hydrated so that they have no excuse not to.
Should you care about prevention when it comes to your employees? Is it really your business whether or not they’re engaging in activities that could result in chronic disease or illness? If you’re worried about your bottom line, the answer is yes.
According to the CDC, chronic diseases and related lifestyle risk factors are the leading drivers of employer healthcare costs. Likewise, chronic conditions and their related behaviors reduce worker productivity. High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical activity, and obesity together cost U.S. employers nearly $40 billion each year, just in costs associated with missed workdays alone.
Encourage your team to be proactive about their health. Normalize going to the doctor for checkups and screenings. Make sure that mental healthcare is also included in health insurance plans. If your team needs help taking care of themselves, enlist health coaching to get them on track by helping them instill positive habits and eradicate negative and harmful habits from their daily lives. Building healthy habits now prevents future ailments.
- Habit training
Habit training goes hand-in-hand with prevention. After all, to prevent chronic and long-term illnesses and diseases in your teams, they’ll need a bit of preventative measures and some healthy habits. According to one Wall Street Journal article, healthy lifestyle habits such as eating healthier, getting more exercise, and making lifestyle changes intended to reduce stress, resulted in workers showing greater productivity on the job. To get your employees help with habit training, check out Arootah’s Health Coaching program.
The bottom line
While taking a universal approach to company wellness might be easier, paying special attention to these wellness categories allows you to get to the root of your team’s problems and makes your corporate wellness initiatives most effective. While keeping up with just one or two health and wellness initiatives for your employees can seem overwhelming, let alone keeping up with eight key pillars, the effort will be worth the tremendous increase in overall company productivity and employee wellbeing.
Luckily, Arootah offers team wellness coaching services that takes each of these 8 pillars into account. Our corporate wellness programs look at your employees’ sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, toxic habits, hydration, prevention methods, and habits to help you better implement workplace initiatives that make a real and lasting difference in your employees’ lives – and on your bottom line!
Check out our full range of wellness coaching services and pick the option that is best suited for your team’s unique needs and goals. Let’s start caring for your team’s health, together!