Wondering about the benefits of implementing a workplace health policy? Read on to find out what other industry leaders are doing to improve employee health.
Well-being at Work: Creating a Healthy Workplace
The focus on wellness in the workplace hasn’t always been a priority for companies. But over the past century, setting value in the physical and mental health of employees and effectively reducing work-related stress has become an important part of corporate governance.
The reasons for this have become clear over the years. Top of the list is that by law, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe, healthy working environment. Aside from this, employers who help employees manage stress in the physical work environment see increased productivity, fewer negative health conditions, less sick leave, as well as less unpaid leave when work stress results in staff avoiding work or trying to manage chronic health issues.
Managing Physical and Mental Health Conditions
Companies that adopt a multi-factor approach to employee health are more likely to see the long-term benefit. Encouraging staff to adopt healthy lifestyles may require that managers collaborate in implementing healthy workplace programs.
In many cases, poor communication may lead employees to feel overwhelmed or that they can’t count on emotional support if they’re experiencing stress. Even if they have a family member to speak to, it’s not likely that everything can be resolved by going home and discussing stress at work.
This is particularly the case when other factors are involved that may leave a person feeling they can’t deal with their job or that they’ll never be a success in the business they’re involved in. The result can be interrupted sleep, depression, anxiety, and a range of feelings that lead to the risk of soaring stress levels.
Symptoms of Poor Workplace Health
While there are numerous indicators of poor employee health, some of the more obvious ones include the following:
- High levels of mental illness
- Poor productivity
- Workplace conflict
- Pressure on health services
- Low staff morale impacting business confidence
Identifying the Root Cause of Work-Related Stress
There could be several issues that might cause employees to suffer stress in the workplace. It may be that they’re dealing with pressure from employers or other workers. An unhappy working environment can make people feel unappreciated or that their concerns are not heard, particularly if there are discrepancies between pay and workload.
In other instances, it can be stressful for workers to be tasked with projects that fall outside their skillset or ability. Most people are happy to deal with a heavier workload if they are given proper training and are able to practice what they have learned.
Focusing on proper work-life balance is also important for managing stress. Encouraging employees to adopt healthy lifestyles that include attention to physical health, mental health, and fulfilling personal relationships.
Healthy Workplace Leaders
The concept of well-being in the workplace is not a new one, nor has it missed the attention of numerous industry leaders. For instance, corporate giant Johnson & Johnson has invested considerable energy in creating a healthy working environment for its employees. Some of its healthy workplace initiatives include progressive parental leave policies that include support for fertility and surrogacy programs, along with significant veterans’ benefits.
The company’s healthy workplace policies have seen the company’s staff boasting better health stats, which result in lower costs for health services, and reduced sick leave.
Johnson & Johnson’s holistic approach incorporates several groundbreaking approaches that include access to guided meditation programs and encouragement of healthy eating, with an app that tracks steps, monitors sleep, and logs food intake. There’s even a two-day “Energy for Performance” course that allows users to maximize their energy use in a way that optimizes good health.
Employees have found that not everything revolves around trying to cram vigorous training sessions on already busy days. Good health should not leave workers more stressed than they were in the first place – the idea is to reduce stress in the first place. However, there’s no question that exercise is an effective way to manage depression and anxiety and provide a positive mindset.
Mental and Physical Health has Benefits
There are many reasons why an employer should provide services to help staff lead healthier lives. Here are seven benefits of reducing workplace stress:
- Reduce stress leave
- Less need for employees to seek professional help
- Increased productivity
- Better performance
- Improved job satisfaction
- Better corporate image
- Enhanced business efficiency
Taking the Steps to Wellness
The benefits of wellness in the workplace are not always immediately apparent. However, the long-term advantages are significant for both employers and employees alike. Considering the amount of time the average person spends at work, a healthy workplace is an essential part of living a fulfilling life.
While most employers will acknowledge that it’s a long-term investment, with work-related stress on the rise, the need for programs of this nature is no longer optional.
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The Union Workforce Initiative is for educational, training, and awareness purposes only. This is not an Employee Assistance Program. We help build awareness within the workforces of employer/employee assistance professionals, substance abuse professionals, nurses, doctors, and other educational professionals.