How to Encourage Health in the Workplace

How to Encourage Health in the Workplace

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The average person spends 90,000 hours working over their lifetime. 90,000 hours. Just let that sink in for a minute. If you’re a boss who oversees employees, it’s essential that you remember — this is their life. This is where they’ve chosen to spend hundreds and thousands of those work hours, contributing to your business and engaging as part of your staff. 

That being the case, it’s only natural that a good employer spends time investing in their employees’ health. Here are a few ways that you can encourage a healthy environment within your office or workspace.

Implement a Workplace Health Program

If you find your workplace is seriously struggling with health concerns, you may want to take a more aggressive approach to solving the problem by creating a workplace health program. This comprehensive approach involves taking stock of your current situation, making a strategy to increase the overall health, and then implementing it across the board. 

A good workplace health program can incorporate things like:

  • Providing healthier food choices in your office space.
  • Arranging employee access to a local gym facility.
  • Creating policies that encourage chances to stretch and exercise.
  • Encouraging your employees to take breaks from monitors and other screens.
  • Making sure that you’re practicing workplace safety.

Create a Safe Work Environment

Workplace safety is a buzzword these days and for good reason. There are numerous examples of workers receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to safety. Take, for instance, the Rana Plaza collapsing in 2013. This event led to over 1,100 worker deaths, all because management ignored the clear signs of danger in their workplace. While events of this magnitude rarely happen, it doesn’t change the fact that workplace safety continues to be critically important to those spending so much of their lives in an office building.

Of course, workplace safety can mean many different things. It includes obvious concerns like keeping your building up to code and attending to things like fire safety or air quality. It can also pertain to subtler things like sexual harassment and cybersecurity. The recent allegations against the Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein are a good example of these quieter crimes. 

Regardless of the form of danger, though, making sure you operate a safe work environment through things like clearly defined sexual harassment policies and building evacuation plans can increase productivity and create happier employees.

Empower Your Employees

Micromanaging is a dirty word and with good reason. No one likes the boss who is constantly looking over their shoulder, correcting them, and telling them how to do their own job. If you make an effort to empower your employees to both do their work and make their own decisions, it can have an excellent effect on overall morale. 

Try to delegate responsibility wherever possible, genuinely practice active listening, and make sure that your employees are given control over their own work.

Empowered employees are typically going to feel more confident and satisfied with their jobs, which translates directly into a better state of mental health.

Encourage Better Sleep

American workers tend to be proud of working on inadequate amounts of sleep. And yet, professionals have come right out and declared that surviving on six hours of sleep without at least some level of impairment is impossible

In other words, everyone needs their sleep. You simply cannot thrive on inadequate sleep. Employers and bosses obviously can’t babysit their workers’ sleep schedules. Still, they can certainly be a source of knowledge on the subject. 

The more employees know about getting adequate amounts of sleep (roughly 7 to 9 hours per night is recommended) as well as the importance of things like deep sleep for restorative rest, the more likely they are to be healthy while on the job.

Enable Work-Life Balance

It’s tempting for a manager to try to wring every drop of work out of their employees. The truth is, though, that approach to leadership is going to create resentment, stress, and overall unhealthy employees. 

Instead, try to adopt a position that promotes keeping a healthy work-life balance. Encourage your employees to work hard while on the job and then to stop working when they’re not. Don’t bother them with texts and emails while they’re absent. Don’t call them or keep them late unless you have to. In short, make sure they’re able to have a life outside of work.

If you have remote employees, suggest that they create a “workspace” at home and even a work schedule so they aren’t perpetually on the clock. 

Remember, It’s the Journey that Matters

There are plenty of ways to promote health in the workplace. Whichever way you specifically choose to go about encouraging a healthy lifestyle within your own space, though, the most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that you’re not reaching health goals, you’re enabling a healthy journey. 
Genuine health is never maintained by reaching a goal. Sure, goals are helpful tools, but a long-term mindset towards health has to be one that focuses on the journey more than the destination. If you can do that, chances are you’ll have no problem creating a healthy workplace for the long haul.

Frankie Wallace
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