Ten tips to create a productive and healthy workplace
November 1st is National Stress Awareness Day. Often stress and pressure becomes mixed up. Many of us create our own stress by either trying to do too many things at once, having a fear of failure or simply having too many obligations – and of course our own self-limiting beliefs and habits contribute. Teaching employees skills and behaviours they can use in their personal life, as well as in work, can help to mitigate the chance of employees becoming overwhelmed by their various stressors.
There is a strong link between health and happiness and promoting a healthy workplace is cost effective to the business. Below are ten tips which can help create a healthy and happy workplace.
1. Promote a culture where employees can learn from failure
Failure is something everyone wants to avoid and because of this some people avoid taking on certain tasks, as they are scared of failing. This all adds to the stress culture and is something which can be easily changed without spending a penny!
2. Have break out zones where no technology is allowed
Employees need to detox from technology for a few hours every day. Talking to colleagues and discussing ideas can actually help with finding solutions and a chance comment made by someone else could actually spark off a creative thought in someone else’s head. This doesn’t happen when people sit all day behind a screen.
3. Provide healthy snacks
Sugary snacks can lead to a slump in energy once the sugar high wears off, which can have an impact on productivity. Providing free fruit shows you care about the health of your staff, who in turn feel more appreciated and motivated.
Don’t assume employees know how to recognise stress symptoms, or manage their time effectively. Wellbeing/resilience training can assist with providing employees with these skills. Ensure employees who are being promoted are upskilled for the role to assist them to perform well and confidently within the workplace.
5. Promote drinking water
Tiredness and headaches are two symptoms of dehydration, so drinking water can ensure employees are kept well hydrated.
Offering health checks e.g. monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose (diabetes) is a great way to help employees keep an eye on their health.
7. Encourage employees to take regular breaks during their working hours
Few people can work for 8 hours and be productive the whole time. Time away from desks, moving around, can not only assist with postural discomfort but allow for ‘down time’ and even though employees may be away from their desks, their subconscious brain is still working away finding answers and solutions to the problems they are working on.
8. Encourage good work–life boundaries
Discourage reading and replying to work emails out of working hours or when on holidays. Everyone needs down time and without it, individuals can become burnt out which is when normal daily stressors start to become overwhelming and existing coping mechanisms become ineffective.
9. Set activity challenges
Recognise the team that walks the most steps in a week, or the team who cycles the most miles. Exercise releases endorphins in the body, which are the feel good hormones and research shows this to be one of the best ways to combat stress.
Obtaining advice from Occupational Health can be invaluable to both the employee and the business. Don’t assume that the GP is aware of everything that is going on, or even the real reason why someone is off sick. Many cases of physical pain is actually a mental health issue presenting itself as pain in the body. If this isn’t adequately addressed promptly a health issues can turn into a chronic (long term) problem.
These tips are just examples of what can be done to help promote a healthy and happy workplace. At Lincoln Occupational Health we look at ways to assist businesses to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace. All of our advice is tailored to meet a company’s specific requirements – as one size does not fit all. Bespoke training courses can be provided to address any specific issue identified within an organisation. These can be a 1 hour lunch and learn session through to full day sessions.
For more information on how we can help you promote a healthier workplace and combat the growing stress issues, please do not hesitate to contact Katie Eastwell on firstname.lastname@example.org.