July 21st 2016

Why “healthy living” might just be the best thing you could do for your employees … and your business.

By Ashley Bourque

Over the last decade, healthy living has become more than just a trend. It has in fact cemented itself as true way of living; a lifestyle to aspire to if not only to dream of. While all of the do’s and don’ts can sometimes be overwhelming to those just beginning to adopt these healthy habits, the basics are pretty straightforward and uncontested. Here are a few easy to implement health tips that could help you get the most out of your employees, hence improving your business’s overall performance.
Drink lots of water
Not only is drinking water essential to your health, research has proved that there are a substantial number of benefits that come from consuming a good daily dose of H20. Indeed, science has proved that water intake can help increase energy levels and relieve fatigue. Hydration can also have a considerable effect on brain function and overall productivity. An added bonus? Drinking water may even help prevent and treat headaches and migraines which are quite common in your average workplace due to air quality and daily screen time.
Having a water dispenser on site can thus be a very cost-effective investment for a number of reasons. Try encouraging employees to keep track of their daily intake and make note for themselves of the changes that occur throughout their work day when they consume a sufficient amount of water.
Rest up
Sleep experts recommend a range of seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. While many of us still function on less, it has been proved that a consistent sleeping pattern can lead to an improvement in alertness, memory, and creativity. Furthermore, good sleeping habits can help reduce stress, a considerable factor in today’s society, and even lessen one’s risk for depression and other health issues, which can indirectly lead to additional costs for an organization.
All of these benefits can certainly overflow into the working environment… But how does an organization affect an employee’s sleeping habits, might you ask? Allowing for flexible working hours can be one privileged approach (early birds might want to start work at 7 while others might prefer sleeping in to tally up their rest hours and won’t mind finishing later in the day!) Companies might also want to consider different communications policies (such as a “no after hour emails” rule). Another great practice is to engage in an end-of-day brainstorm to establish a “to do” list for the following day. Such an exercise can do wonders for employees who can then go home with a clear conscience and start the following day with specific goals and a sense of direction.
Get moving
Another factor to consider in line with the healthy living approach is exercising. Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day can have drastic effects on the body and brain! Among other benefits, regular exercise can help improve memory, increase one’s attention span, boost decision-making skills and lead to better multitasking and planning. All of the latter can have a considerable impact on productivity in the workplace.
Some organizations are lucky enough to have an integrated exercise room within their building. For those less fortunate, physical activities can be promoted as team-building exercises. Consider starting up a company soccer or softball team, for example. Organize a corporate volleyball tournament and bring together other local businesses. Alternatively, you can approach nearby fitness centers who often offer company discounts on memberships which can be incentive enough to get employees active.
Eat well
Who hasn’t indulged in a little office gluttony? Chips, chocolate, retirement cake, birthday binges… Mostly, people seek out these unhealthy alternatives when they are bored, tired, or pressed in time. Integrating more whole foods into one’s diet can help boost energy levels, improve overall mood and happiness, and increase focus.
Having healthy snack options available to employees within an organization can be a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle in the workplace. Consider an office-run canteen with basic fruit, vegetable, and other such options available. Perhaps you are willing to go the extra mile? A number of businesses now specialize in portion-controlled, healthy meals delivered to your door. Consider polling employees to see if they would be interested in these types of services. Again, these small steps can go a long way with respect to creating a happier, healthier workplace!
In conclusion…
These are only four small suggested changes to the work environment that can help organizations increase the productivity of their employees and enhance their overall success. Other considerations to factor in could be the physical working environment—having various options available to employees, ensuring workspaces have some amount of natural light, providing opportunities for employees to work outdoors when possible—and the commitment to implement such practices as goal setting, which can help engage human resources and increase satisfaction in the workplace.
Lastly, team members should ultimately learn to enjoy each other’s company! It takes very little effort to create a true sense of community within an organization; even those with little budget to spare can make an effort. When you take a minute to consider that your work colleagues are quite likely the people in your life with whom you are spending the most time on a daily basis, it is surely worth investing in positive, harmonious relationships.