On-site yoga, free massages and nap pods have come under scrutiny lately: Are these just crazy stunts to dazzle candidates or do they have tangible benefits in the workplace? Only the employers that offer them and employees who subscribe to them can answer that. What we do know is that employee well-being affects motivation at work. And if these perks boost employee well-being, companies that offer them are likely to see a more motivated and productive workforce.
Three factors support employees’ motivational quality at work: compensation, company pride and personal resources. Our personal resources are what we draw on to get things done at work. We’re required to report to work every day with enough personal energy to successfully complete the tasks assigned to us. But how can we ensure our employees are refreshed enough to walk in the door with this vitality day after day? As an organization, we should be responsible for setting forth wellness initiatives that will recharge our employees.
Here are nine ways to contribute to employee well-being so they show up motivated and ready to seize the day:
Respecting employees’ personal time is one of the most important ways you can show them you care about their wellness. Provide enough vacation days for them to enjoy their own pursuits. Be sure you encourage them to disconnect in the evenings and on the weekend. And sleep-friendly policies should be considered if your organization is global. So, understanding the time zone differences and not expecting employees to answer emails in the middle of the night.
If you’re able to offer on-site fitness programs, that’s great. If not, there are many inexpensive ways to encourage your employees to exercise. It could be as simple as hosting a walking meeting, reminding employees to take the stairs or holding a weekly step-count contest. Subsidized gym memberships are another option that may just require finding a partnership, and consider offering employees a pass to leave an hour early one day each week or month to get in a workout they wouldn’t normally be able to fit in.
Flexible Work Arrangement
There are plenty of ways to let employees have flexibility at work. It might mean working from home twice a week for someone who has an hour-long commute. Someone else may prefer to get in extra early so they can pick up their kids from school in the afternoon. Let employees find a work situation, whether it’s working outside of the office or adjusting their working hours, that minimizes stress and maximizes their productivity.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” This applies to teaching your employees how to deal with stress too. It’s nice to know they can reach out to an employee assistance program (EAP) hotline 24 hours a day, but if you can proactively teach them how to deal with stress, they’ll have more confidence to cope with a situation when it arises.
Compensation is one of the motivating factors, but an employee’s financial situation goes beyond their income from your company. A recent poll by Varo Money found that 85 percent of respondents “sometimes” feel stressed about money and 30 percent said they’re “constantly” stressed about their finances. Show employees you care they feel financially secure by offering lunch-and-learns or one-on-one financial coaching. It could be as simple as having an advisor come in to explain 401(k) changes, for example. If you’re able to offer additional benefits, consider student loan payback assistance or starting an employee assistance fund (EAF).
You probably have a vending machine in the office or maybe you offer snacks to your employees. Consider swapping out the Twix for a yogurt parfait. You can get a service to help you with this or simply fill a big bowl with apples and bananas and put it in the breakroom. Healthy food better fuels our brains. Give out branded water bottles to employees so they can refill them throughout the day and stay hydrated too.
Healthcare: This means offering a comprehensive benefits package with health, dental and vision insurance. If available, consider on-site flu vaccinations or on-site annual physicals. Making it easier for employees to take care of their health concerns will be worth it. If employees don’t feel well, how can we expect them to be motivated to work and perform to high standards? A popular health-related offering is smoking cessation courses.
Building healthy, meaningful relationships contribute to social wellness. Feeling connected to coworkers increases employee happiness, reduces stress and increases employee engagement and loyalty. Encourage employees to get to know each other outside of work by putting together a team for a local 5k race or charity walk. Happy hours are an easy way to do it without too much planning.
Collaboration increases motivation at work because it fulfills the need for relatedness. Structuring your work environment to inspire collaboration will not only contribute to employee wellness but also lead to greater efficiency and productivity and encourage innovation and creativity. Consider unassigned seating, activity-based workspaces, co-working areas and “resimercial” spaces. Also, designate spaces where no work is allowed – so employees can take a well-deserved break.