6 Reasons To Prioritize The Physical And Mental Health Of Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Employee Health|6 Reasons To Prioritize The Physical And Mental Health Of EmployeesAs the saying goes, ‘you can’t be a healthy company with a broken workforce’. But, what does that really mean?

You might think it means investing in your employees’ physical health by providing an onsite gym or nurturing their mental health, or reducing work-related stress with access to confidential counseling.

Whether you are an established business or a burgeoning start-up, however, it is just as important to create a positive working culture where employees feel valued and respected. This starts with communication. Not only do employees need to know what their role is and be told how well they are doing it, but they also need encouragement and ongoing opportunities for career growth and development.

People thrive when they feel a sense of ownership over their work and can see where they can grow into new roles within the company. Here are five valid reasons to prioritize both the physical and mental health of all your employees.

1. Recognize that a healthy workforce is happier and more productive

The number one reason to prioritize the physical and mental health of employees goes without saying – a healthy workforce (both physically and mentally) is a happier and more productive one. Yet, although this may seem like an obvious theory, there are scientific studies to back it up!

A healthy body and mind can lead to increased energy levels, improved decision-making and better relationships with colleagues. When businesses value and embrace a more holistic approach to their employee’s health is an important step that can benefit their overall business success.

Holistic health also means that employees will be less likely to take sick days or call in sick because of illness or stress. Employee benefits that can help keep your workforce happy and healthy, include:

  • Universal healthcare packages
  • Dental insurance
  • Parental leave
  • Counseling and support
  • Gym memberships
  • Cycle-to-work schemes

2. Create a culture where employees feel valued and respected

If you want to create a workplace where employees feel valued and respected, you’ll need to start by promoting a culture of respect and inclusion. This means providing a safe and inclusive workplace environment that doesn’t tolerate any harassment or discrimination.

It also means providing your team with clear communication about company values, goals, processes and procedures so everyone is on the same page about what’s expected from them. The more transparent you are as an employer, the more comfortable your employees will feel taking initiative in their work – and that leads to better productivity overall.

Offer regular feedback opportunities for all members of your team so they can understand how they’re doing individually (and if there are issues). And, don’t forget about recognizing their achievements: small gestures like bonuses or gift vouchers for a spa day, or giving out ‘employee-of-the-month’ awards can help to reinforce a caring company culture on a daily basis.

3. Promote wellbeing and strong lines of communication

In addition to promoting wellbeing and communicating how to instill it, ensure that your employees are clear about the importance of communication. Good communication is key to building relationships with one another and helping everyone succeed in their roles. The more you can nurture open lines of communication, the better equipped you’ll be to support your staff when they need it most.

Make sure your employees feel comfortable communicating any private physical issues and personal mental health issues. There are recommended healthcare checks for over 50-year olds and, rather than putting these check-ups off, it is far better to create a culture where staff feel comfortable keeping important appointments. And, even if you offer a great parental package, pregnant women might still need to attend baby scans or unscheduled dental check-ups before they take maternity leave. The same hormonal changes that trigger morning sickness during pregnancy can also lead to sensitive teeth.

Encouraging every member of staff who has a valid reason for needing extra time off is a small gesture that goes a long way, and is appreciated by everyone.

4. Identify and prevent early signs of burnout

It is important to recognize the early signs of burnout in the workplace so you can help prevent it. When employees are experiencing burnout they may feel hopeless, depressed, irritable and more. So, you can see why they might not be productive at work if they are burned out!

Here are some early signs of burnout:

  • Low motivation. If you feel like your work doesn’t matter or that you’re not learning anything new, it may be time to reevaluate your job.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and ineffectiveness. This can include having trouble making decisions at work or feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done (or even by simple tasks).
  • Difficulty sleeping and being tired during the day. If you struggle with both falling asleep and staying asleep, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout symptoms.

5. Encourage best-performance within the workplace

As the leader of your company and a human being with a conscience, you should be deeply concerned about your employees’ physical and mental health. As both a leader and an individual with a conscience, you have a responsibility to take action on behalf of your team members in order to ensure that they are able to perform their jobs at their highest levels.

There are many ways this can be done – we recommend offering company-wide perks that benefit both physical health and mental wellbeing. A few examples include:

  • On-site fitness facilities for all employees
  • Regular mindfulness training sessions in the office or at home (via video conference)
  • Adhoc days off for important appointments such as dental appointments
  • Meal delivery service from local restaurants (or meals prepared by higher-ups).

6. Value employees to increase engagement, long-term staff retention and company profitability

As a business owner, you know that your employees are the backbone of your company. They are the ones who ensure that your products get made and get shipped out on time. They’re the ones who keep customers happy, answer questions and process orders when they come in. In short, they help make sure that everything runs smoothly in your workplace.

While it can be tempting to cut corners when it comes to employee health and wellbeing, it’s a good idea to prioritize them instead because doing so will:

  • Increase employee engagement, long-term staff retention and company profitability. When employees feel valued by their employer – and not just as workers but as people – they are happier in their jobs and more productive overall.
  • Boost morale across all levels of your organization by prioritizing healthcare initiatives that benefit everyone from executives down to every level of staff members.
  • Enable creativity among employees through programs like flexible schedules or telecommuting opportunities that allow workers flexibility with their schedule while also reducing stressors associated with commuting (like sitting in traffic) or needing constant supervision at home.

It’s clear that improving employee wellbeing is good for your business and the people who work for you. It makes sense to put resources into creating a healthier environment and encouraging healthy habits because this will benefit everyone involved – including yourself!

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