The start of a new year is the perfect time to get healthy and happy and encourage your workforce to do the same. Workplace wellness is being taken more seriously, and while you may not want to employ a Happiness Officer (yes, it’s a real job), it is worth considering the strategies you have in place.
This guest post by Lilli Hender from OfficeGenie.co.uk looks at a few of the ways you can help your team be on top form in 2016.
As your own body tells you (and not the well-known chocolate bar brand that you're not allowed to name on this website), "you're not you when you're hungry".
Hunger makes people miserable, self-conscious about their stomach rumbling, and more importantly, it distracts them from their work. Stocking up on staff chocolate is one way to tackle this, but a better, healthier alternative is to provide fruit and nutritious snacks.
It can feel like a long time between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and dinner. Employees will be thankful for the option to grab a banana or a cereal bar, it can help stave off hunger pangs in the morning and prevent an afternoon slump. It’s rare to find someone who doesn't appreciate free food: you’re looking after their stomach and their wallet, after all.
Are you sitting comfortably?
It’s important for people to feel physically and emotionally comfortable at work. The health problems associated with long office hours can be prevented with the help of good ergonomic equipment. A chair with lumbar support, a vertical mouse, or even just wrist rests could make a significant difference, as can adjusting monitors and desks to the correct height.
Consider what’s on the desks as well; personalizing a workspace can greatly improve a person’s mood. Obviously this has to be within reason but the addition of a photograph, card, or (small) plant can help employees feel happier at work, particularly if they’re new.
Try flexi working
Running late for a strict nine o’clock start can be a horrible way to begin your morning. While people generally respond well to structure and routine, a bit of flexibility is much appreciated. The option to come in late, leave early, or have an extended lunch can help to reduce stress levels.
This can help cut down on wasted holidays too: rather than doctor’s appointments and car services requiring a day’s leave, people can simply make up the time elsewhere. No one likes to feel work governs their life and flexible hours help prevent this.
Create a sense of community
An important part of feeling happy and healthy is to have a good support network. Not everyone clicks in the workplace but instilling a sense of teamwork can help to promote positive feelings among colleagues.
Communal eating and socials are great ways to bring departments together and help people get to know each other better. Regularly discussing shared goals is another good technique to encourage staff members to view themselves as part of a connected group.
Wellness is the way forward
The opportunity to learn new skills is often what attracts a person to a job, but some companies are going beyond this by offering wellness workshops. These are designed to educate employees on various aspects of mental and physical health, such as stress, nutrition, or exercise.
They can involve an expert coming into the office to give a presentation on their area of knowledge along with some helpful advice. Employees walk away with handy tips that they can implement in their day life. Workshops can cover everything from exercises you can do at your desk to the optimum napping time (which is twenty minutes, by the way).
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, adopting even one or two of these tips could really boost workplace wellness. With happier, healthier staff, comes a happier, healthier business; your staff will thank you for caring and you’ll appreciate the returns.
Lilli Hender writes for Office Genie: a desk and office space marketplace. She writes business advice and comments on aspects of office life.