Healthy employees: Employee health is an asset to any company. But: An employee who is present all day fresh and full of energy, does he really exist? In many offices, many litres of coffee and even energy drinks are needed to keep everyone going.
And are you massively grabbing at the sweet snacks too (temporarily) dispel the afternoon dip? Soda and candy vending machines, cake from old colleagues, a Friday afternoon drink followed by a kebab on the way home, an office is often not the healthiest place.
And then we haven’t even talked about sitting. Sitting dormant behind a desk all day does not benefit productivity. And is also very unhealthy. Sitting is even called the new smoking. Because even if you exercise in the evening, sitting all day isn’t good.
Eating healthy and exercising enough is important to stay healthy. But these two things seem difficult to incorporate into an office job. But it is not impossible!
This article is going to help keep employees healthy.
Risks that lead to unhealthy employees
There are 4 factors that influence your health the most. That is smoking, alcohol, exercise and nutrition. Those who smoke, drink too much alcohol, exercise too little and/or eat unhealthily run a much greater risk of disease. Both their physical and mental condition deteriorates.
Every person has the choice of how healthy he or she wants to live. Small adjustments in your life can already make a big difference. Yet too fewer health choices are being made.
About 10% of all Dutch people drink too much alcohol. A quarter of the population smokes. Around 33% exercise too little and almost everyone does not eat enough fruit and vegetables.
In the Netherlands, we are almost seated 9 hours a day. A TNO study showed that on average the Dutch are the most prevalent, compared to other European countries.
The office is served all day in particular. And then in the car, from and to the office, and in the evening on the couch.
Even if people exercise enough in addition to their office job, they run a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and other health problems. The abundance of sitting, in combination with unhealthy eating, quickly leads to obesity.
Only 5% of Dutch people get the recommended 200 grams of vegetables and two pieces of fruit per day. Most menus contain too little dietary fibre, too little fish, too much salt and saturated fat. The risk of cardiovascular disease and various forms of cancer is much greater with unhealthy eating habits.
More productive through more exercise
As a manager you prefer to see your employees behind their desks all day, working hard. But how productive are they? Some employees start the day fresh and are fully busy right away, but get problems with an afternoon dip at the start of the afternoon. Others drag themselves to the office where a few litres of coffee must first be consumed before anything comes out of their hands.
Exercise is a good way to become more productive. Sitting behind a desk all day does not cause more work to be done. Stimulating your employees to get up ensures that more is done.
Give your employees the opportunity to take a walk outside during the lunch break. Perhaps there is a possibility in the neighbourhood to get a healthy lunch, which is preferably eaten on foot. The movement and fresh air make you energetic. It is a good solution for people who suffer from the well-known afternoon dip.
More exercise in the office
More exercise in the office is not at all difficult. Getting up from your desk more often has many advantages. Regular change of posture is good for your body. The blood circulation in the legs starts again and the back comes loose, so you can reduce or prevent back problems.
A few simple ways to move more at the office:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Use the toilet on another floor, of course via the stairs
- Stop internal emails and phone calls, but talk with the colleague
- Walk around outside during lunch break
- Get a glass of water regularly
- Move your trash can a little further away so that you have to get up to throw something away
- Do you often have to call? Walk around while you call
- Discuss something with a colleague? Do this during a walk
- Have a meeting while standing
- Come to the office by bike
- Arrive at work by car? Park a little further away and walk the rest of the distance
There are many more ways to move around during the working day. It might scare you off as a manager, all those moving people in the workplace. But remember that exercise makes people more productive.
In addition, personal contact with colleagues often works better than a quick phone call or e-mail. Through personal consultation, colleagues get closer to each other, get to know each other and work together more effectively. And an email can easily be misinterpreted, while the message can be communicated much better with direct consultation.
Encourage employees to become healthier
As an employer, you can encourage employees to become healthier. For example, more and more companies are offering their employees a subscription to the nearby gym. Larger offices sometimes have a gym in the building where you can play the sport before, after or even during working hours.
By making it easy for employees to take their daily exercise, they will do it sooner. This also applies to healthy food. Remove soft drink and candy machines from the building and ensure healthy alternatives. A large fruit plate, healthy snacks and drinks. A tap with cool water in each department. Because drinking enough provides more energy.
Make sure there is a sufficient choice of healthy food in the canteen or encourage employees to bring healthy food from home. By placing a microwave in the kitchen, for example, they can heat up their own meals. Instead of getting fries at the local fast food restaurant.
Offer your employees a healthy workplace
More and more employers see the importance of a healthy working environment. A good posture behind the desk prevents many physical complaints. A well-adjustable desk and desk chair are the minimum requirements.
It is even better to offer your employees the opportunity to change their attitude. More and more options are coming onto the market for this. With a sit-stand desk for example.
But a sitting ball also promotes active sitting. There are even special desk bikes that allow your employees to do their work while cycling.
In addition to all the hard work, relaxation is just as important. As an employer, you probably expect your employees to relax when they get home. But even between the activities, a moment of relaxation lets productivity rise. Reading the newspaper for a few minutes, having a chat with a colleague or getting something to drink provides energy and then they continue fresh again.
In the meantime, re-setting your thoughts can actually ensure that an assignment is brought to a successful conclusion faster. Away from the office gives new insights. Movement stimulates brain activity, it makes your employees more creative.
The benefits of healthy employees
The benefits of healthy employees are countless. Not only are your employees more productive and have more energy to get through the day. They are also more satisfied and, even more, important for you as a manager, they fail to do so much less, and more is seen of productivity.
Encouraging employees to live healthier is therefore not only good for the employee himself, but the entire company also benefits from it. Even the smallest measures make a big difference. As long as you manage to get the employees out of the chair.
Offer accessible sports activities such as table tennis and pool. Ideal for the canteen. In addition to the movement, it also offers colleagues a way to get to know each other in a fun way.
There are of course many more ways to get your employees moving. A movement meter for all employees, for example. Or the aforementioned gym subscription.
But also the introduction of a bicycle plan offers possibilities. In this way, employees who live further afield can come to work by bicycle. With the bicycle plan, an electric bicycle can be purchased cheaply through the tax authorities. The discount can be as high as 52%.
Also in terms of time management, there is often a lot to be gained with regard to the health of employees
A healthy and green office
The health of your employees is not only dependent on their own commitment. A healthy working environment is clean and hygienic. The employees themselves contribute to this by keeping their workplace tidy. But regular cleaning is also part of it. A cleaning company keeps the entire office tidy and hygienically clean.
Fresh air is very important. Especially in a room where many people sit together all day, there must be a constant supply of fresh air and oxygen. Good ventilation, which is regularly cleaned, is, therefore, a must.
If it is missing or contaminated, the air quality will drop quickly. Employees suffer from all kinds of complaints, such as fatigue and headache.
Plants in the workplace have a positive effect. Certain plants are known to provide cleaner air and more oxygen. In addition, the green has a calming effect, which benefits both physical and mental health.
Recognizing a burnout
(more than 60 symptoms)
Mental health is also important
After all physical health tips, we would almost forget about mental health. Because someone who is not feeling well will not function properly. Every employee has ambitions, dreams and goals. To what extent can they reach these places where they are now? Do you give them the opportunity to grow?
An employee who sees opportunities for growth will be working with much more passion. He has a goal in mind. He is mentally challenged. They feel valued and energetic, you can see that in their work.
Employees who suffer from depressive feelings, fears, stress, fatigue, irritability, burnout and over-stressed will not perform optimally in the workplace. And these are just a few examples of mental health problems. A shocking 1 in 4 people experiences mental health problems during his or her working life.
If an employee ends up with a burnout at home, this will be lengthy and drastic, both for the person in question and for the company.
Behaviorally, there are many development goals to promote the health of employees.
You can find these here: Development goals for employees
Bullying at work, bad for mental health
Bullying behaviour in the workplace causes a lot of stress. Abuse of power, overt harassment and verbal aggression or intimidation is bad for mental health. Not only for the bullied but also for the colleagues around it. The working atmosphere is ruined by this. Collaborations no longer run as smoothly as before.
Bullying behaviour is sometimes difficult for managers to see. Subtle entertainment, jokes at the expense of others, ignoring and excluding the group, it can happen to anyone.
Do not tolerate bullying behaviour in the workplace. If you are not sure whether there is bullying, draw up an anti-bullying plan. Because, no matter how harmless it may seem, bullying has a major impact on workplace happiness and mental health.
Read also: resolve conflicts in the workplace
Performing 24/7 is not healthy
The bow cannot always be under tension. Being concentrated for a whole day at work is not possible mentally. The brain is capable of much, but it also regularly needs time to process everything. Continuing too long is disastrous for creativity, you work on autopilot. Productivity ends up in a downward spiral.
So give the brain a break. Turn off all stress. Turn off the computer, away from the workplace. It doesn’t have to belong. A small meditation or just nice daydreaming, and after 10 to 15 minutes you can work completely fresh and clear again.
Take these small breaks even when it is busy. Actually correct when it is busy. It will go horribly against your feelings, but a small break in a big crowd ensures that you can deal with all the stress much better. The productivity is much higher and the stress resistance better. Employees can handle difficult situations more easily if they have just had a ‘mental break’.
Stress stands in the way of health
Stress is becoming more common. Constant input to incentives can cause stress. Stress is not the same as work pressure. Employees can work well under pressure. Only when the pressure becomes too much does it turn into stress. It is therefore important to keep the workload under control. Do not overwork employees and they will continue to perform well, even under pressure.
Stress is a physical and mental response to too many stimuli. Stress is, therefore, the result of too much pressure. Light, short-term stress is no problem. It can even contribute to better performance. But if the stress persists for a long time, it will exhaust the employees, both mentally and physically. There is an imbalance between the work that needs to be done and the capacity of the employees. Long-term stress causes health problems. Depression, stress and burnout complaints are lurking.
Employees who experience a lot of stress suffer from sleeping problems, which makes them appear tired at work. They have more difficulty concentrating, forget things and are often indecisive. They are also easily irritated, nervous or feel listless.
Avoid stress in the workplace and prevent burnout
These days it seems that prolonged stress in the workplace is just part and parcel of life at work. But it gives a very unhealthy working environment. An environment in which employees do not feel comfortable. Conflicts are more likely to lurk. People get irritated faster and become less productive. Staff turnover will grow.
For managers an important signal to work on developing a healthy working environment, and healthy employees. Healthy employees are much more flexible, productive and feel good within the company. And those are the employees that you like in your team.
Do you want to know how you can keep your employees healthy? Then contact us to receive a practical guide full of tips, especially for managers. Avoid the 10 most common mistakes and recognize burnout signals early.
Also read: Employees learn to indicate their limits
Milltain for organisations:
With the help of a team of experienced trainers, Milltain supports organisations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. A single burnout can easily cost an organisation € 70,000 (or more!)
In addition to financial suffering, the human suffering is great. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before long, you find yourself in a negative vicious circle.
Get long-term absence and stress among employees under control with the help of our highly effective team training via Zoom or a similar tool.
This training has proven to be an international success for both managers (leadership skills) and employees (dealing with stress).