According to a Gallup poll, the two most important factors to consider for employee performance is engagement and well-being. When someone is actively engaged in their work, it only makes sense that they will be more productive. However, what many employers fail to recognize is that a person’s overall well-being has a significant effect on their engagement. When employees are distracted by problems in other areas of their life, it’s difficult for them to stay motivated and engaged with their work.
Well-being extends across all aspects of a person’s life, from their social relationships to their finances to feelings of security and safety in their home and community. Although many of these aspects can influence motivation at work, one of the most influential forms of well-being on motivation is physical well-being – also known as vitality. Not only are healthy employees less likely to miss work due to illness, but they are also less likely to be unproductive at work because they don’t feel well. Consider how you feel when you’re tired, have a headache, or haven’t eaten well. More than likely, you feel sluggish and unmotivated, and you aren’t able to concentrate or put out your best work.
Therefore, employers who want to support higher levels of engagement and productivity among their teams need to make physical wellness a priority. Employee wellness programs are an excellent first step toward this goal, but there’s more you can do. Many of these tips are simple to implement and cost nothing but have significant rewards.
Provide Opportunities For Fitness Every Day
Giving everyone a chance to get up and get active during the day not only supports physical fitness but also helps spur innovation and productivity. Try holding “walking meetings,” where team members discuss projects while on a brisk outdoor walk (even Richard Branson does this!) or encouraging stretch breaks during the day. Keep the efforts going by sharing information about different activities people can do throughout the day that serve a specific purpose – such as the best exercises to help you sleep. Bottom line? Don’t just tell people they should exercise, but give them opportunities to do so and support their fitness effort.
Offer Better Work/Life Balance
Most people are juggling their career, family and other obligations, and feeling like they’re dropping the ball in one area can lead to decreases in performance in others. By offering flexible work schedules or the ability to work remotely on occasion, you give your workers greater control over their schedule and the chance to meet all of their obligations.
Sponsor Wellness Activities
Hosting wellness-focused activities not only improves your employees’ physical well-being but also strengthens teams and relationships among co-workers. Participate in local 5Ks, mud runs, fitness-focused events, schedule a scavenger hunt around your city, or a bike to work day to encourage camaraderie and fitness (and eco-friendliness). Remember, social interactions are an element of overall wellness. Encouraging your employees to build friendships and have fun can increase their engagement and keep them motivated.
Allow Sick Days
Research indicates that nearly three-quarters of people go to work when they are sick. Not only does this spread illness throughout the office, but trying to work while sick is not a great way to be productive. Leaders should establish and support a culture where taking sick days is encouraged and supported, rather than fostering an environment where employees feel at risk for requesting a sick day.
Promote Mental Well-Being
Physical wellness is closely tied to emotional and mental wellness, so a part of maintaining a commitment to employee well-being is supporting their mental health. Flexible scheduling options can help with this by reducing stress. Make sure your team is aware of all the mental health options available to them, from insurance benefits for counseling to employee assistance programs. Supporting self-care through stress-relief education and activities can also help mental health. For instance, some companies provide opportunities for chair massages at work or discounts on a massage or other relaxation activities. Watch closely for signs of burnout, and again, foster a culture that supports a healthy work-life balance to promote mental well-being.
The bottom line, healthy employees are more productive. Therefore, business leaders must support efforts to maintain their employees’ physical and mental well-being. The benefits of an engaged and motivated workforce are prooven, and your employees will be more satisfied with their careers.