While on the surface investing in employee wellbeing may seem extravagant in terms of the priorities many SME owners face, the reality is, a focus on workplace wellbeing can dramatically improve productivity and staff churn.
However, you don’t need the resources of Google to foster a culture of wellbeing in the office. Here are some clever ways to promote wellness in the workplace that won’t necessarily require a big budget.
- Swap sugary snacks to healthier options
If your office provides some level of snacks or pantry options (i.e. biscuits, lollies) consider swapping these for healthier options like fruit and nuts.
Healthy snacking is a big part of wellbeing in the office. Providing healthy snack options to employees can go a long way not just in improving wellbeing but also productivity. For instance, it can help to improve overall health, curb cravings, fight weight gain, regulate moods, boost brain power and give you the energy to keep going all day.
- Help facilitate good hygiene
This is particularly important in the winter months. Promote good workplace hygiene by providing hand sanitisers and tissues and possibly even a free flu shots to employees.
Good personal hygiene is an effective way to protect against illness. So it is important to minimise and prevent the spread of germs in the office. This includes all parts of the office, including the kitchen. Did you know there are 100,000 times more germs in the kitchen sink than on a public toilet?
The work desk is a commonly ignored space in terms of cleaning. Great products to keep desks clean include disinfecting wipes, non-flammable spray duster and hand sanitiser.
- Group exercise programs
Whether it’s yoga at lunch, initiating a running group or an after-hours sporting group, providing and encouraging employees to participate in exercise is highly beneficial.
With 65 per cent of Australians spending more than 40 hours in the workplace, it’s important for employers to provide ‘down time’ and way for their staff to relieve stress and ensure health and wellbeing. Not only are group exercise programs great for health but they also promote a healthy culture of team work.
- Review the physical environment
Office furniture, like desk chairs, should be reviewed regularly as they do have a life span. Likewise, things like lighting, air flow, accessibility and office clutter should be taken into consideration.
Providing a safe environment doesn’t just make good sense, it is also part of Workplace, Health and Safety requirements. When was the last time you updated your office furniture and equipment?
Maybe it’s time for a review. Are you providing adequate ergonomic workplace furniture and tools? Is the office space being optimised? The design of your workplace can greatly impact employee productivity and wellbeing.
- Educate employees of safe working
A bit of helpful information goes a long way. Provide guidance to employees of safe working practices. For instance, for employees who sit for long hours at a desk consider providing details on how to sit properly so as to cause the least amount of stress on the body, how often to get up and stretch and eye strain exercises.
Workplace health and safety isn’t a topic to be taken lightly, all employees should feel safe in their work environment. Employers are legally obligated to provide information and training to staff about safe working practices. But don’t just stop at your compliance obligations. Providing guidance to employees on safe working practices will help to improve wellbeing as well as overall performance, so it makes good business sense.
About the author
By Belinda Lyone, General Manager of COS