Providing a healthy work environment where employees can excel personally and professionally can go a long way towards improving your employee engagement.
The average Australian spends about one-third of their life at work, which adds up to a lot of hours sitting in a chair, stressing over deadlines and working through lunch.
Fear not though as the welfare of employees is not simply an individual or personal matter for each employee, but rather something that a business can take a proactive step in promoting.
How do you implement a healthy work environment?
With a little planning, any office can become a healthy one. There are several health initiatives you can implement to succeed in improving the health of your employees.
Assess the needs of workers.
Do you work in a high-stress industry? Are there a lot of smokers or social drinkers in your office? Do employees spend the majority of their day at their desk, in one place?
Once you know more about the type of influences on your employees you will be able to start identifying and developing programs to address those health-related issues.
If you are unsure, conduct a survey of your employees and use this information to shape your strategy and create realistic goals.
Plan your physical workspace
Promote workspaces that face a window and are able to make the most of any natural light available. This will assist to enhance mood and create a more spacious feel to the office.
Support employees to have a workspace that is organised, clean and free from files, books and any other items that have been lying around for years. This can be through storage solutions or assessing work practices. A clear environment will create clear minds.
Place a few green plants around the office. Research shows that just one plant per workspace can provide an ample lift in staff’s emotional state and improve employee happiness.
Think about the type of food supplied at work morning teas, meetings and social functions and encourage healthy eating. If money is available you might consider cooking demonstrations. Encourage physical exercise by starting a lunch-hour walking club, encourage walking meetings and gifting employees with time in their day or week to complete exercise.
Encourage staff to walk, bike ride or take public transport when working from the office. Not only will they be doing good things for the environment, they are also having some important ‘me time’.
Once your plans are identified, your goals are set and your resources secured, you can’t just leave employees to fend for themselves.
The important thing to remember is that you need to make health initiatives accessible, desirable and understandable.
Check out the Australian Government’s Department of Health page for state and territory resources.
Support your employees to be engaged with your business today and well into the future by creating a happy and healthy work environment.
Need help developing your health and well being program? At Small Business Society, we can help you with that.
The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required. If you are a small business with less than 15 employees your obligations may vary from the advice provided.
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About Kate Tongue
Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.
She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.
Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.
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