5 Ways to Better Your Employees’ Health

A company is only as good as its employees, but everyone gets sick now and then. As a manager or business owner, you are in a position to improve your employees’ health and ensure they miss as little time as possible. You should not look at this as a loss in productivity—you are not trying to keep them healthy the way a farmer does with cattle—but because it’s the right thing to do, and employees happy where they work are less likely to leave. Besides the glaring necessity of providing your employees with optimized health insurance, here are a few in-office steps you can take to improve your team’s wellness.

Include a gym

Exercise is essential to living a healthy lifestyle, but unfortunately, people do not make time for it the way they should, or they don’t have time because work demands too much from them. Do not be the kind of boss that works your employees so hard that they do not have time for a morning run or an afternoon workout (or whatever else they choose to do).

Not everyone has access to a place or equipment that helps them work out their entire bodies, though. You can provide your employees with such opportunities: if your building has space, devote a room for housing weights, treadmills, and other supplies. If you do not have this in your budget, your gym doesn’t have to be expansive. Ask your employees what they would use; an elliptical machine and an exercise ball are better than nothing.

Provide nutritious food

If you feed your employees every day, make sure that the food you offer is balanced and nutritious. Don’t resort to mac-n-cheese, canned peaches, or fried chicken three times a week to cut costs. There should be fresh vegetables, fruit, whole wheat bread, and more.

Even if your employees typically bring their lunches to work, you can still advocate for healthy eating. A primary care physician in San Francisco, Dr. Spencer Blackman, advises: “Go to a wholesale club twice a month and stock up on healthy treats like fresh fruit, nuts, and granola bars for the company kitchen. Host healthy potlucks. Once or twice a month, ask members of the team to prepare a nutritious dish at home and eat lunch as a group.”

Not only will such practices encourage team bonding, but people can also think more clearly when their bellies are full of energy-giving food, not junk. Keeping Pizza Hut out of the office as much as possible will help everyone focus and maintain positive moods.

Start wellness programs

One of the best ways to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle is when someone is holding you accountable. If your entire business participates in a wellness program together, individuals are more likely to keep up healthy habits they learn and are incentivized to see the program through. BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, for example, helps its partners provide online and offline wellness tools that include health screenings, professional coaches, and care management.

Maintain a health-oriented office

The workplace has a massive impact on the health of the people who do their jobs inside it. Would you like to work in a space that is consistently dark, stuffy, deteriorating, and overall depressing? How do you think that would affect your performance?

Instead, make sure your building is clean and up-to-date. Paint your walls with aesthetically appealing colors (don’t overdo it, though), decorate the space with lively and sophisticated furnishings, and double check that it has good airflow (and consider investing in an air filter). Sunshine is imperative: artificial light is useful at night, but the natural variety has dramatic influence over people’s moods, sleep schedules, and overall health.

Account for illnesses

Sicknesses are year-round, so keep antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, and other disinfecting supplies on hand to prevent germs from spreading. Encourage your employees to get whatever vaccinations they need, and provide them with time to do so (especially during flu season). Let everyone know that when they feel ill, it’s okay to stay home—you do not want anyone working while miserable, and it decreases the likelihood of anyone else catching something. Offering paid sick days will deter people from coming to work regardless of any illnesses that are bothering them.

Providing your employees with a healthy working environment is part of your job. Remember that a healthy body also needs a healthy mind, so do everything in your power to make sure your employees are happy with where they are. How will you work to improve your team’s health?