A healthy team is a happy team: 6 ways to improve wellbeing at work
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
One topic that has pushed its way to the top of the workplace agenda in recent years is wellbeing, and for good reason.
A healthy team is a happy team, and countless studies claim that happiness at work naturally leads to enhanced productivity. Even though you can’t influence every aspect of your employees’ health and happiness, you can certainly make a positive impact on their workplace experience -- and it absolutely pays to do so.
With that in mind, these tips offer suggestions on how to create a healthier office environment for your staff by building wellness initiatives into their working week.
London businesses based in a Landmark office are already sold on the idea of flexibility -- after all, it comes as standard with all of our serviced offices. So why not build a little flexibility into your employees’ working week, too? Plenty of research has been carried out on the subject, and the results are convincing. One particular study conducted inside a Fortune 500 company found that employees placed on a flexibility program were happier at work and less prone to burnout and psychological stress than their 9-5 counterparts.
Fancy switching up your choice of office furniture? Adjustable-height desks and balance seating have become a common sight in business centres, and there’s now a huge choice of options on the market.
Get Britain Standing crunched the numbers on the damaging effects of prolonged sitting, which contributes to a long list of unwanted side effects including absenteeism, work-related stress and back pain. It claims that users of adjustable-height workstations benefit from increased movement and better posture throughout the day, which leaves employees feeling more alert, energetic and task-driven.
Walk while you work:
Continuing the theme of increased movement, you can help your team to move more throughout the day by increasing standing or walking activity. For instance, replace seated meetings with short stand-ups or head outdoors for a walking meeting. It’s a simple yet profound solution; research suggests that walking “opens up the free flow of ideas”, plus a standing or walking meeting is more likely to prevent over-running (no pun intended) by keeping delegates focused.
Load up on healthy snacks:
Whilst it’s tempting to treat your team to calorific bakes or sugary sweets, especially during long meetings or ‘just because it’s Friday’, it’s an unhealthy habit to get into. Instead, load your office with healthy goodies such as fruit baskets, herbal teas (especially green tea, which is full of antioxidants), and organic snacks.
Drink more water:
Always make sure the water cooler is well-stocked. Water is essential to basic everyday functions (did you know that the human brain is more than 70% water?) and dehydration can lead to headaches, lethargy and nausea. So it’s in your interests to encourage employees to drink plenty of water throughout the day. What’s more, drinking water can help reduce cravings for aforementioned sugary snacks. Dr John Giles, an NHS consultant radiologist and medical director at Benenden, says: “Your brain often gets confused with thirst versus hunger messages,” and advises a simple solution: drink more water.
If you don’t have the privilege of an on-site gym, seek out a local fitness centre (Central London is full of them) and offer discounts or vouchers to your employees. You can also introduce wellness classes at work: book out a meeting room and set up regular classes for gentle yoga, pilates, meditation or mindfulness.
You’ll certainly be in good company. The likes of Google, Apple and Aetna offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees, citing lower stress levels, improved cognitive functioning, creative thinking, productivity, and improved physical health.
However much or little you do, any effort to introduce wellness into the workplace will always be rewarded. According to Get Britain Standing, the positive effects of wellness programmes at work can reduce employee absenteeism by as much as 42%, which clearly demonstrates the positive effects of a happy, healthy workforce.