4 steps to create a healthy workplaceJanuary 9, 2020
Is your company or business fulfilling its potential? Is it in good health? Most businesses still rely on their workforce to prepare, deliver, interact and support their services, clients or customers, not to mention each other. The health of the workplace is either the greatest asset or liability? How healthy is your team? The answer to that question may be one of the most important you make as a business owner or manager.
- Take it seriously: Perhaps the most important step is simple yet profound. Take the health of your workplace seriously. It will have a positive effect on you and your team, not to mention the bottom line. The research shows that for every dollar spent on health and wellness there is a $6 return. So often business pay lip service to workplace health; a health check, a talk, a massage or even a bowl of fruit?
The trickle-down effect of workplace health has far-reaching implications not just for the business, but also the managers themselves, employees, their families and the community at large.
2. Understand Stress: Most people today acknowledge that stress plays an increasingly significant part of their lives and is affecting their health. In fact, over half of the Australian workers surveyed said they feel over-whelmed a significant proportion of the time. Business leaders are not immune from stress either with studies showing that up to 80% of business leaders are concerned about stress in their workplace.
The key is to identify and minimise stress. But in order to solve a problem, it helps to understand the extent of the problem. In our modern world, a ‘stress’ is anything that compromises our immune system, mentally or physically. In an increasingly stressful world, finding a work-life balance, improving engagement and productivity, while reducing the ill-effects of stress would seem to be a reasonable goal…the ultimate win-win.
3. Flexible working arrangement: Employers too often equate hours-worked with productivity. New research challenges that notion, articulating what most employees feel, but are not always able to verbalise. There is a point of diminishing return, which is reflected in the engagement and health of the workforce.
According to a report absenteeism and presenteeism, that is showing up for work but not being at your best, costs the Australian economy $35 billion/year or 3% of GDP. When organisations also factor in the indirect costs of absenteeism, such as replacement labour, lost productivity and increased stress and risk to others, absenteeism comes at huge costs, particularly to those that have to manage and cover for it.
A recent trial in New Zealand moved to a 4-day work week, while still being paid for a five-days. The results have far-reaching implications for our stressed work force. Importantly, 78% of those in the trial found they had a better work-life balance, while the company reported a more positive effect on job attitudes, performance and engagement with an improvement in productivity, teamwork, customer service and feeling of well-being.
4. Build resilience: while identifying and minimising the stresses of our modern world is one side of the equation, it’s equally important to focus on a wellness program that builds resilience and delivers. A wellness program focused on five pillars; sleep, breathe, nourish, movement and thought. A holistic approach to health built on sensible, achievable, sustainable principles that can transform a workforce, and a community.
Imagine a wellness program focused on sleep and breathe. More than half of the Australian workers surveyed don’t get enough sleep, which affects every measure, physically and mentally. Poor sleep, affects memory, empathy, cognitive skills, energy levels, immune system, aging and much more, in turn affecting engagement and productivity. Lack of quality sleep is a significant business issue, affecting leaders and employees alike.
A business that values the health of its workforce, is a business people will want to work for, and business people will want to work with. Business is a fact of life for individuals and their families alike, so business owners and managers are uniquely placed to make a difference. Not just to their ‘bottom line’, but to society as a whole.
Take control of workplace wellness, prioritise health and be the best you can be, individually and collectively.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich, author of A Life Less Stressed; the 5 pillars of health & wellness, delivers keynotes and wellness workshops.
He has a weekly podcast Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich. Visit: www.drronehrlich.com