Healthy Employees, Healthy Business

I'm sure you have heard the old phrase: ‘Those who play together stay together’. This is as true in the workplace as it is at home. The happier, healthier and more content your employees, the more positive the work environment. Makes sense right? Have you ever sat down and actually thought about this? Have you ever considered the health and happiness of your employees beyond assessing sick entitlements? Have you ever put yourself in a position to really get to know their working environment? If not, then why? We work about 33% of our lives so we really should enjoy being there. The happiest working environment is one where everyone gets along.

With so many varying personalities this may seem impossible however it is worth striving for. Team bonding exercises work, that’s why so many companies utilize various team bonding methods during conferences. Hmmm, say you might have 4 conferences a year that’s 4 team-bonding experiences a year. Can you really get to know someone if you only have a chance to ‘bond’ 4 times a year outside of work?? Not really. So, firstly we need to get out ‘team’ together more often in order to create a happy work environment, but what should you do?

Remember in the last article we spoke about how important your health is to your business? Well, no matter how strong the muscle is, it’s useless without the skeleton. Healthier workers are happier workers and there are plenty of ways to create a healthier work environment. The workspace is a start. No need to go overboard with Feng Shui, but take a walk around and see what you can do about creating a more positive environment. Use some indoor plants, flowers, pictures and so on to brighten up the place. Now, look at your employees (without making it obvious), do they seem happy and healthy? You can help them to be much happier and healthier without too much fuss. How, you ask? 

Well here are a few ideas I have gleaned over the years:

  • Gym Membership – go to a gym near you and nut out a corporate membership deal for your staff. Preferably choose a 24/7 version so staff can choose their preferred time to go, or better yet give them ‘gym time’ 3 days each week.
  • Healthy Kitchen – provide healthy snacks for your staff rather than the standard biscuits etc.
  • Share a meal day – break your team into departments and create a rotating roster so once a week the selected department brings lunch for the group. This works a treat for team bonding as you not only share a meal but also get to know something about each other through the food supplied.
  • Provide lunch – weekly or fortnightly provide lunch for your staff. Try to make sure it’s healthy!!
  • Educate – have someone in to chat about adopting a healthier lifestyle. Do this during work hours so employees have no excuse for not attending.
  • Challenges – hire a personal trainer for a 12-week challenge to get your employees on track.
‘My employees would never go for that’ you say? Well if your employees aren’t interested in improving their lifestyle there isn’t much you can do. Think about this though, do you really want someone on you staff who doesn’t want to enjoy their work? There are no excuses, it doesn’t cost much to try and yes you may have some initial resistance but with time this will change I guarantee it. Anyone not interested at the start may change their tune once they see how happy their workmates are.

Healthier employees mean less sick days, and are more productive when they are working so the benefits speak for themselves. If you can’t spare the time to implement some changes then put one of your employees in charge of it. Be clear on what you are wanting to create and work together implementing one change at a time until before you know it all your staff are happy and healthy. By now you should be feeling the benefits of improving your health and fitness after the last article, if not then go back to your diary and make the time! You are a role model, a mentor, a coach, and their boss so help out your employees and they will shine through for you. 

By Chad Islip

Chad Islip is the 2012 Jetts Fitness Australian personal trainer of the year, and has been whipping people into shape for over 15 years. Chad is a dedicated family man and lives his passion by helping others achieve their best through health, wellbeing and fitness.