Ahhh…..quality of life.  Have you heard this phrase before?  Definitely one of those phrases that you hear in many corporate settings.  We all want to have it and it’s a great idea for companies to offer employees benefits that improve their quality of life.  After all, happier people make better, more productive employees!

9 Ways to promote health and well-being in the workplace:

1.  Encourage exercise – Movement can really get the creative and problem-solving juices flowing.  Taking a break for a brisk walk during the day can help employees refresh and recharge.  Encourage employees to take breaks periodically, start a walking club during lunch, or offer a reward system for movement.  See if a local gym will offer employees a discount for membership to encourage them to workout before or after work.  None of these suggestions will cost the company any money but can help to increase productivity and improved health.

2.  Promote preventive care – Preventive care for employees can reduce sick time and save the company money.  Many insurance plans offer no- or low-cost preventive care for employees so encourage employees to take advantage of this benefit.  Offer employees annual flu shots in the office so it is convenient for them.  Some insurance plans cover flu shots as preventive care or will give a significant discount for giving shots in the office.  Since the flu can cause employees to be out of work a significant length of time, the cost of flu shots is minimal in comparison.

3.  Offer healthy snacks – You never know when hunger will strike, so having healthy choices like fruits available as an alternative to vending machines gives employees an option to make healthier choices.  Fruit is less expensive than candy so it can be sold to employees for less or even offered free.  Bananas and apples are handy grab and go snacks and having them available makes it easy to choose and helps avoided the dreaded sugar crash from sugary snacks.

4.  Have plenty of drinking water available for employees – We all know how important water is for our health.  But many people have trouble getting in the basic amount to stay properly hydrated.  To help employees drink more water, companies can provide cold, filtered water for employees to enjoy.  A nice treat for employees would be a large environmentally friendly tumbler to encourage them to drink more.  And studies have shown that drinking from a straw helps people drink more water faster.

5.  Offer employee education to learn healthy habits that will improve their lives – A well-balanced life involves everything from work to nutrition to parenting to saving for retirement and many other things.  Providing educational resources such as Sodexo’s Quality of Life website for employees help them to learn about the areas of their lives that they are focused on helps them learn and grow – and shows that the company cares about them.  Compiling resources and making them available on a company intranet is a great way for employees to access them anytime.  Companies can also offer online seminars or bring in professionals to educate employees.

6.  Be family friendly – For most employees, family is far more important than work.  As the saying goes, we work to live, not live to work.  When employers recognize that family is a priority and offer family friendly policies, employees are more likely to stick around.  Offering employees flexible work hours, assistance with childcare, and paid family leave are policies that support families in balancing their lives.

7.  Offer incentives to employees – Rewarding employees for certain actions can motivate them.  Offering discounts on insurance for being healthy or not smoking is a great way to encourage employees to get fit or quit smoking.  Contests for participating in fitness events such as a walking club encourage employees to get involved and make it fun.  Prizes like company swag or gift cards for local businesses or even time off work help sweeten the deal too and encourage participation!

8.  Provide employees with a place to get away for a few minutes – We all need to get away from time to time.  Having an area for employees to take a few minutes and relax helps them recharge.  This could be an outdoor area to soak up a few minutes of sunshine or a comfortable breakroom to sit on comfortable couches and read or watch a few minutes of television.  Just getting away for a short amount of time to relax can increase productivity since a break allows employees to return to work with a fresh perspective.

9.  Relaxation sessions – Many companies have realized that employees are under a great deal of stress.  Regardless of how great a company may be to work for, some jobs are just inherently stressful.  Companies can help with this by providing relaxation sessions periodically.  Bringing in a massage therapist for free 10-minute massages is a great way to show employees that you appreciate their contributions.

Encouraging health and wellness in the workplace benefits both employers and employees in so many ways.  Here are just a few of the benefits:

For employers:

  • Attract and keep skilled employees
  • Reduce costs related to absenteeism and healthcare
  • Reduce the effects of a stressful workplace
  • Improve morale

For employees:

  • Improved health and well being
  • Increased productivity and effectiveness at work
  • Reduced personal health care costs
  • Higher morale and greater job satisfaction

What does quality of life mean to you?  Do you work for a company that values quality of life for employees?

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