Employee wellness is a hot topic, with managers and executives around the world focusing on ways to keep their employees happy. From small perks through to comprehensive employee wellness programs, businesses are increasingly seeing the benefit of focusing on matters other than just financial remuneration. Though pay is a key part of attracting and retaining employees, it can often be the working environment that sets your workplace apart as a more attractive place to work.
Why employee wellness is important
Over time, businesses have moved away from a view of simply trying to tap as much productivity out of employees as possible, to understanding that content and happy employees contribute more to the workplace than employees who are highly strung and unhappy. The costs involved in maintaining employee wellness are usually vastly outweighed by the benefits of a cooperative, motivated workforce as this spills into every area of your business – from the creativity involved in product development through to customer service.
Improving employee wellness
There are a number of approaches to employee wellness, and what you do will depend somewhat on the expectations set in your industry. For example, workers at tech start-ups would expect certain perks in the workplace that others may not. Nonetheless, there is a baseline of comfort and care that every employer should follow. Here are a few tips:
- Provide healthy, subsidised food options
Most workplace positions require hours that stretch across mealtimes, so employees either bring their own food or go outside of the workplace to find something to eat. They don’t always make the wisest choices when doing so, and buying meals near work can eat into monthly pay. Think about providing healthy food options for your employees, and flex your available real estate and ability to negotiate to offer better prices. Some employers even opt to offer food to their employees free of charge.
- Invest in your employees’ health
Companies around the world have learned that keeping their employees healthy helps to keep their employees at work and productive. On-site doctors give employees the opportunity to discuss medical issues before they turn into bigger problems – without needing to take time off work to see a doctor.
- Set the right temperature
Investing in temperature control can pay off. Employees who are too hot will struggle to be productive, while freezing cold conditions in the winter can make your workers ill. Humidity levels should also be given attention as damp conditions are a brewing ground for bacteria, so consider dehumidifier hire options to help keep your office hygienic. It can be difficult to satisfy everyone with exactly the right climate conditions, so provide portable heaters and fans for employees who are generally hotter or colder than the mean.
- Run a wellness program
Wellness programs offer employees a selection of perks and treats that they can customise to their needs. As the employer, you give your workers a choice of gym memberships, cash rewards for healthy living or discounted access to weight loss plans. You don’t even need to run the program yourself – many providers offer schemes that your company can join. Your employees will appreciate the perks, and your business will benefit from more productive and healthier workers.
- Subsidise education
Most people enjoy improving their knowledge and understanding, but education can be costly, preventing people from taking courses. By helping your employees pay for education ranging from short courses to full degree program, you will benefit not only from a happier workforce but also from having more qualified and capable employees. In fact, in some industries, workers will expect continuous professional training and development.
- Respect your employees’ privacy
One important factor to bear in mind when working on a wellness program, especially one where health issues are tackled, is that your workers will want to keep certain aspects of their lives private. Make sure that your wellness program is not so intrusive as to make employees uncomfortable, and that employees feel reassured that any personal information that they share with, for example, an on-site doctor is not going to gain a wider audience.
Balancing employee needs with business realities
It can be tricky to get right the balance between what you offer employees and the added value that you receive from your workforce. It is worth looking at your industry and seeing what other employers are doing when it comes to employee wellness. Overcompensating your employees with lavish treats will be costly and can risk a sense of entitlement. On the other hand, coming across as a stingy employer while putting your workers’ health at risk will lead to problems in the long run.