Free and Low-Cost Options for Smart Employers to Enhance Quality of Life at Work and Improve Health
This is a new health care era, known as the era of “treatment integration.” People today are looking for holistic preventive methods for their conditions, and feel that treatment approaches should not only focus on a diagnosis, but also decode hidden health messages expressed by the person. This is because the human body is unique with structured organs and systems that are interdependent. So it’s important to consider the entirety of the human being when promoting quality of life at work.
In the workplace, the business-oriented side of most people is extremely important and prevalent in their personalities. They feel pressure to be super-professionals and to succeed in their careers. And since people spend more than eight hours a day at work for approximately forty years of their lives, quality of life at work is essential.
Healthy, Happy Employees = Great for Your Bottom Line
Moreover, if you are a business owner, you will probably realize that improving your employees’ quality of life will not only save you money, but also enhance your company’s ability to compete in the market. Why? Because healthy employees are happier, have reduced health risks, and much greater personal effectiveness.
So if you do not currently offer a wellness program to your employees, you should start thinking strategically about developing one that is designed to account for the physical, mental and social health of your staff. The cost of implementing a wellness program is minimal compared to the benefits.
Even if you don’t have the budget to create a wellness program, or if you can’t hire a dietician to provide workshops or consultations for your staff, there are other things you can do. Here is a list of free or low-cost ideas for promoting quality of life for your staff:
Promote a Healthy and Productive Environment
- Have enough light at the office, ergonomic chairs and tables, and keep the rooms a comfortable temperature. Open up the curtains and let in natural light if possible.
- Invest in cleaning the office daily: take out the trash, and clean the bathrooms. Also, deep-clean the office weekly: vacuum, mop, and remove dust. Change and clean filters on air conditioners frequently.
- Have a pet in the office.
- Provide employees with relaxation music.
- Offer a casual dress code day on Fridays.
- Develop a monthly wellness newsletter that addresses your staff’s needs, interests and concerns and/or provides health information (using fact sheets, for example, for employees to take home).
- Send out daily morning emails with motivational messages.
Boost Physical Activity and Help to Relieve Stress
- Encourage stretch breaks.
- Promote “walking meetings.”
- Consider building a room to store bicycles, or offering a dressing room for employees who want to work out at lunch time or before office hours.
- Measure the distance in hallways, stairs and outside the building to help employees set walking goals.
- Partner with the gym in the neighborhood to offer discounts for your staff.
- Partner with a beauty salon/spa to offer services on site or nearby.
Improve Your Staff’s Nutrition
- Offer only healthy snacks at the vending machines, and provide onsite kitchens and eating areas.
- Request that cafeteria vendors only serve fit/fresh options and nutritious freshly homemade foods, or encourage employees to bring their own Healthy lunches in insulated bags.
- Have office water coolers readily available with reminders for staff to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Develop an online cookbook of employees’ healthy recipes, and feature healthy employee recipes periodically on the cafeteria menu or in the newsletter.
- Encourage employees to bring only healthy snacks to the office.
To Provide General Work/Life Balance
- Partner with other health-related non-profit organizations to promote wellness thru monthly or quarterly events.
- Allow employees to work from home when possible and/or allow flexible working hours.
- Encourage employees to take time for themselves and arrange paid time off, since the U.S. is one of the few countries that doesn’t mandate paid vacation.
Don’t forget to include incentives, such as a day off, or health item gifts, like a water bottle, to encourage employee participation. Lastly, always evaluate the actions that were taken and meant to promote quality of life for your staff, including implementing surveys. Look to always improve your strategies to help you as a business: people who have true quality of life at work tend to stay at a place where they feel good, motivated, and find balance with their personal lives.30