Unhealthy employees cost companies a lot of money – yet many businesses aren’t doing anything about it. Lost revenue caused by staff sickness and unproductivity related to health issues is a huge problem, but how can employers tackle it? Keeping staff healthy and in work can be achieved through a number of initiatives, from free gym memberships to healthy office snacks. While some health and wellbeing programmes may seem like a big upfront cost, they will almost certainly provide a return on investment by improving the health of your workforce.

Employee health is in the hands of the employer. Let’s see what can be done to encourage a healthy lifestyle at work and at home.

Encourage healthy eating

green yellow orange red smoothiesWith obesity becoming an epidemic and many people suffering from related health problems and diseases, a is essential. While you can’t control what your staff eat, you can point them in the right direction. If you have a canteen or somewhere which provides food on site, make sure it has plenty of healthy options which are affordable. You can also provide free snacks in the office or in meetings replace the biscuits and cakes with nuts and fruit.

Another way to get people involved is by having a cooking competition. Take it in turns for a member of the team to prepare a healthy and tasty dish at home and bring it in for everyone to have lunch together.

Promote mental wellbeing

In addition to physical health problems, it’s mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression which also contribute to employee absence. Make sure the company has an open door policy when it comes to talking about mental health, to help staff manage their issues before it becomes a serious problem. You can also introduce a programme to improve wellbeing including lunch time yoga or meditation classes.

Promote an active lifestyle

people running the long-distance raceIn today’s busy world, it’s no surprise that many of us simply don’t have time for the gym. Employers can encourage staff to exercise more in a variety of ways. Introduce a cycle to work initiative, or discounted membership at the local fitness centre. Of course, many office jobs are static so you need to get people moving around the building more often during the day. Introduce standing meetings and have five minute stretch breaks every hour or so. Encourage people to take the stairs rather than the life, and organise active competitions or marathons out of hours.

Hygiene at work

Aside from long term health problems, employees also get sick from bacteria and viruses picked up at work. Short term illnesses such as stomach bugs and the common cold are also popular reasons to call in sick. Ensure the best hygiene practices are being followed: hire professional cleaners daily, encourage hand washing in the washrooms and let people work from home if they have a contagious illness.

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