Creating a healthy work environment requires more than addressing physical health factors. While workplace benefits such as an onsite exercise facility, ergonomic office furniture, or a cafeteria offering nutritious meals and snacks are always welcome and appreciated by employees, mental wellbeing should also be considered.
A stressful or contentious work environment can lead to employee burnout, lower productivity, and a higher rate of turnover. Creating an environment that promotes mental and physical wellbeing can increase teamwork and cooperation among staff, improving your company’s chances of long-term success.
Consider the following concepts and how they can be applied in your workplace:
More Stress Leads to More Sick Days
It’s widely accepted that prolonged stress can cause illness. A stress-filled work environment promotes a general sense of unease and dissatisfaction that could lead to illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
A study found that 93% of business leaders reported that employee health has a significant impact on productivity. Chronic stress in the workplace affects productivity as employees take sick days to seek treatment and recover from their medical ailments. The same study shared that wellness programs reduce employee sick leaves by 25%.
There are many actions your company can take to reduce stress for better health and workplace productivity. As mentioned, employees respond well to health and wellness benefits like healthier food choices in the cafeteria or an on-site gym. If your company doesn’t have space or resources to provide those, consider implementing one or more of the following smaller-scale wellness offerings to improve mental (and physical) health:
- Workplace counseling for employees under pressure.
- Weekly yoga classes in a conference room or break area.
- Seasonal flu shots.
- Gym membership discounts.
- Group weight loss programs.
- Break room alternatives to black coffee such as green tea and juices.
- Stress-management education.
Reduce Conflict by Setting and Enforcing Boundaries
Most employees nowadays use computers to work online. Computers simplify many tasks to save employees time, but they can be a double-edged sword. Employees are at risk of having their personal privacy boundaries violated, leading to anxiety and stress. Some examples could include harassment of their professional presence on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Or their identity or personal details are stolen because of computer viruses or phishing scams.
Although we’re talking about the workplace environment, employees often blur the line between personal internet use and work internet use. Employees may log in from work to their online banking page to confirm they’ve been paid. Or use their own email address to send and receive work-related emails. Therefore cybersecurity in the workplace is not only critical to safeguarding your company’s data but the privacy details of your employees as well.
Besides viruses and malware that spy on your staff’s computer activities and could compromise your network, social engineering attacks are on the rise. Phishing is the most common, where a fraudster impersonates a well-known company to build trust and steal information from an individual. An example of phishing involves an email from your bank warning you of a security breach and asking you to click on the link to verify your identity. The webpage looks like your bank’s website but asks for personal information such as your account number, login, home address, and other information. Upon closer inspection, you may notice the email and website were fake copies of an authentic company.
To protect your company and employees from cyber privacy issues and attacks, make sure all computers and email programs are running comprehensive, up-to-date antivirus software. Consider implementing an online fraud awareness program to train all staff on online dangers and how they can protect their private information, as well as the company’s.
Improving Employee Relations and Teamwork Enhances Wellbeing
Any conflict between management and/or coworkers can create palpable tension. Implementing activities that improve employee relations and encourage collaboration could enhance the overall sense of workplace wellbeing while boosting productivity. When staff feel united and working towards a common goal, problem-solving, and finding creative solutions and methods towards goals is much easier. The following three ideas may help bring your team closer together:
1. Organize Regular Informal Social Events Where Staff can Get to Know Each Other
Mixers, dinner nights, or team-building activities such as a weekend sport can break the ice between employees and allow them the opportunity to get to know each other away from the workplace. They may better connect as they discuss their shared challenges at work, leading to more understanding.
2. Train Leadership to not Micromanage
One of the biggest company challenges to solve is a culture of micro-management. Some people naturally feel the need to control. But the behavior can be detrimental in a work environment. The issue is complex and may require outside help from a consultant so that executives and support staff can better work together.
3. Use Project Management Tools
To enhance collaboration, consider implementing a project management tool. They can provide transparency so that the whole team is up to date on what’s happening in a project. Deadlines and tasks can be assigned between members. Idea sharing and polls are a natural part of the process as members can tag each other or leave ideas open for comments and suggestions. Popular project management tools include Basecamp, Asana, and Trello.
Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Providing a healthy work environment and the tools to manage their mental health is worth the investment. The returns are greater than what you invest and include years of commitment to your company and productivity from their efforts.