How To Keep Your Business Healthy All Year Long
Summer is here, and depending on where you live in the world, the changing temperatures can lead to soaring office temperatures and subsequently a slump in productivity or motivation. Whatever the case, it seems that regardless of what season you are in, there will always be some factor to consider when looking after the overall health of your employees and your company. Winter brings along with it sniffly colds, flu, and hacking coughs, while the January blues tends to put down the overall morale of the office.
Illness and a lack of motivation are some of the biggest threats to a healthy and productive business, and just because we are out of winter (for now), it doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Ensuring that you are aware of the most common health-related dangers to your business will allow you to put checks in place and avoid a dip in your profitability as well as having a happy workforce.
Have a worker-friendly sick leave policy – Business Healthy All Year Long
that ensures employees feel comfortable and supported when they need to stay away from work. Often employees may feel penalized for taking sick leave, particularly if their illness stretches on for a substantial period. People may decide to come to work while they are still sick due to certain factors, sometimes as a result of not having any remaining sick days, but quite often due to feeling the pressure to perform and get on with the job. Employees who come to work with the best of intentions when they are still ill can cause all kinds of problems, however.
Spreading their illness to other colleagues is the main threat that comes from workers coming in before they are well again. In an office environment where large groups of people sit together for long periods of time the risk of infection is quite considerable, particularly in the summer when fans or air conditioning systems are in use which can carry germs around the office.
Coughs, colds and the flu,
while not as common as the winter months still affect a substantial amount of people during the summer months. Maintaining good hygiene in the office and continuing to support those on sick leave should be a policy that continues all year round. Set up hand sanitizers around the office as well as having boxes of tissues in convenient locations around the office.
Create an enjoyable work environment – Business Healthy All Year Long
While encouraging too much ‘fun’ can be problematic, finding a suitable balance between professional and enjoyable will foster a positive working environment. This can be as simple as having a ping-pong table in the break room, to having a designated ‘chill’ room with snacks, games, Ipads and bean bags. Creating an attractive break room boosts morale and acts as a fantastic stress buster, while also improving your brand perception and encouraging people to want to work for your organization.
Promote a healthy work-life balance – Business Healthy All Year Long
Professional burnout is one of the killers of people’s careers. Putting in too many hours, can after a period, lead to stress, exhaustion and then burnout. This is something that is hard to balance, as many people will have ambition and a desire to perform well, which can often mask the stress and exhaustion that they have.
As a result of overworking, however, people can compromise their professional and personal lives as well as the health of your company. To boost morale and create an environment that is conducive to employees, create clear expectations for your them that are both realistic and provides them with a sense of direction.
Some companies create an environment specifically targeted to combat stress and might even have a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), usually someone who is an HR Manager and is tasked with looking after the happiness or well-being of a company’s workforce.
Mental Health is just as important as physiological health – Business Healthy All Year Long
Poor mental health in the workplace is one of the most significant reasons employees will perform poorly or leave their job entirely. Good mental health is key to the long-term happiness of an individual and their performance at work. As an employer, there are some things you can do to create a healthy environment where your staff feels looked after, motivated and keen to do well. Developing a mental health policy is something that every company should do as well as making sure that their staff is aware of this policy and how they might benefit from it if needs are.
Being open and having an open line of communication with your team will encourage people to talk about mental health without feeling judged or embarrassed to do so. This might be through newsletters, posters or in meetings. Understandably, there are times when you have to respond to incidents beyond your control, but which may impact the mental health of your employees.
The best way to deal with situations that you do not feel qualified or able to deal with is to pass it on to someone who has the experience and training to deal with critical incidents that affect the workforce. This could mean calling in specialized support services such as Health Assured, to undertake Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). CISM is a debriefing procedure that can help normalize the effects of minor, moderate and severe incidents upon the individual.
Provide childcare options – Business Healthy All Year Long
Parents who have the option to drop off their young children at a childcare facility in or near to their office will be able to focus on their job rather than worrying about their childcare arrangements or having to rush off to pick their children up at the end of the day. This is usually a low-cost option for employees and fosters a sense of trust between the company and the employer.
Consider letting your employees work from home – Business Healthy All Year Long
The number of companies offering remote work to their employees is steadily increasing.Many companies are allowing their employees to work either full time or part time at home, with the advances in technology making this move much more convenient for many.
Allowing people to manage their schedule, and how they divide their day gives them a sense of authority and control over their work, and in turn, makes them more likely to engage with their job. The flexibility of this form of working, also allows many groups of individuals, such as parents or carers, to work while having the room to cater to other responsibilities in their life.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.