There are too many employers who take a narrow-minded approach to their employees’ health. They may follow all of the statutory health and safety laws and try to create a pleasant atmosphere in which to work for the benefit of the welfare of their workforce. Nevertheless, employers can still often be left frustrated with a high rate of absenteeism and/or poor Staff Morale.
What employers often fail to realise is that work plays an intrinsic role in a person’s life and, whether people enjoy their job or not, they spend a good proportion of their lives at work and the workplace is completely linked to an overall employee’s feelings of satisfaction about their life in general, no matter how much they might try to keep their working life separate from their personal life. There are, however, many things that companies can do to assist employees in making their lives outside of work far better which, in turn, is likely to result in reduced sickness, Lower Absenteeism and an increase in both productivity and staff morale when employees are actually in work. Here are a few suggestions which employers might wish to consider which might go some way to helping to keep employees fit and well outside of the workplace on both a physical and psychological level.
Such is the pace of working life today that many workers find it quite stressful to juggle the demands of a career with things such as family life, including children, as well social life and leisure time . This can often result in workers turning up for work tired and frazzled which is not at all conducive to them being productive.
By adopting Flexible Working practices, this can often help to alleviate the problems. Whether it’s allowing for flexi-time practices which enable staff to beat the rush hour commute, with all the stresses that brings, and either to come in before or after the conventional rush hour period and to leave earlier or later than at the similar rush hour period in the evening, this can often greatly reduce the time they have to spend outside of work commuting to and from the workplace which can help to boost productivity and morale. Furthermore, with computers and IT facilitating many jobs these days, companies might also consider allowing members of staff to work from home on certain days of the week which will also have a similar effect on reducing stress levels and to allow them to achieve a better work/life balance.
A company who, from time to time, arranges a fun day out for the workforce will also benefit from their staff having increased morale and reduced stress levels. It could be a paintball adventure or a ten-pin bowling night out which would also improve teambuilding within a fun environment outside of the conventional office or factory. Or it might be a trip to a concert or theatre or simply an occasional hour or two in the local pub with both bosses and workers attending. Doing things for your staff which take place outside of the office and which aren’t implicitly tied into the jobs they do will result in them feeling more appreciated and they’ll be far more likely to remain in the job longer (resulting in lower staff turnover) and to be more productive at work and they’ll be less likely to go off sick from work.
So far, the solutions to help companies keep their employees fit and well outside the workplace have all focused towards their mental or emotional well-being but it’s just as important to help keep employees fit physically. Employing the services of an Occupational Health therapist can help to pinpoint specific issues which individual employees are experiencing outside of work which might be hindering their performance in work. For example, by encouraging employees to meet with an occupational health therapist regularly, the therapist could solve problems and suggest solutions for typical health related complaints such as having trouble sleeping or a desire to lose weight and or get fitter or to eat more healthily – all of which are symptoms which can greatly affect a worker’s performance.
There are plenty of other ideas which employers could use to keep their staff fit and well outside of the workplace. Things like offering sabbaticals, i.e. extended periods off work to travel or to gain further qualifications and possibly subsidised gym membership or reward incentives for performance which might include spa or pampering sessions, for example.
The fact of the matter is that helping to keep your staff fit and well outside of the workplace as well as within it will inevitably lead to increased productivity, better workplace morale, less absenteeism and higher staff retention and it is something that all companies should take seriously.
Find out more in our guide to encouraging peace and harmony in the workplace.