Employee Health: Why It’s Important and How You Can Support It
We spend a great deal of our time at work, so it’s crucial that our work environments do more good than harm to our health. The lifeblood of a company is its employees, so when they’re not feeling well it affects the health and flow of the company as a whole. It’s vital that companies promote employee mental and physical wellness.
When employees suffer, the company suffers. A study done by the Integrated Benefits Institute found that in 2019, illness-related lost productivity cost employers $575 billion. That was before there was the pandemic, so we can only assume the number has gone up since then. This “bottom line” cost is not the only way a company suffers when employees are ill. Customers don’t like seeing sick employees and may assess your company as uncaring and cold. The employees themselves may feel stressed covering for those who are out sick, or may compound their own conditions by working when they shouldn’t. Poor health truly has a ripple effect that impacts more than just the afflicted person. Being mindful of these “side effects” will help you create strategies to counter them - or better yet, prevent them from happening in the first place.
Just how poor health has ripple effects throughout your company, so does good health! Healthier employees tend to:
- Be happier
- Take less sick days
- Be more productive
- Be less stressed
- Have better workplace relationships
- Have better customer interactions
- Stay with the company longer
- Be more engaged with the company
- Have higher job satisfaction
All of the above points are interconnected. No one is happy or functions well when they’re unwell. The longer we work while we’re stressed and/or sick, the worse the conditions become. By taking care of your employees, you’re sending a positive message which strengthens morale and fortifies your team. The benefits of prioritizing employee health far outweigh the costs of implementation and everyone’s lives are better for it.
Hooray For Health!
No matter the size of your business, there are ways in which you can promote employee wellness. Some ideas for small businesses are:
- Start a health club at work. Many people struggle with making quick healthy lunches, so a “Healthy Lunch Club” could be a great place to start.
- Participate as a company in charity walks or bike rides.
- Encourage those who are able to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Provide healthy food alternatives in the break room.
- Make sure that adequate breaks are being provided.
Ideas for larger companies include:
- Provide affordable health care.
- Provide a sufficient amount of sick days so that employees don’t feel like they have to come to work sick.
- Sponsor clinics and annual exams to encourage vaccinations and wellness checkups.
- Host yoga classes or other fun fitness events.
- Provide access to a company gym or partner gym company.
- Hire a mental health counselor and provide resources for employees who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental ailments.
- Get formal training on how to curb workplace bullying.
When striving for any goal, it's important to celebrate the milestones. By recognizing their ongoing efforts, you'll be keeping everyone motivated and engaged. For instance, if there's a group who goes walking at lunch, ask them to start tracking how many miles they travel a day. They may be surprised how quickly they reach 50 or 100 miles! By showing employees how far they've come and actively celebrating their achievements, you're fueling their drive to succeed. Commemorating events like the charity walks or bike rides mentioned earlier is also a wonderful way to celebrate healthy activities and team bonding. At E. A. Dion, we see the impact that meaningful recognition has every day. If you're ever in need of inspiration, check out our gallery of past designs!
The evidence is clear: taking care of your company’s biggest asset, your employees, is imperative. If you don’t have employee wellness programs in place already, there’s no time like the present! Sit down with your HR department and start the discussion today!
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.