Dynamic companies understand that employees’ health and wellbeing is critical to the success of the company. A healthy and thriving workplace translates to employee retention, and a productive and engaged workforce that can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
The good news is it’s possible to create a culture of wellbeing in the workplace. The key is to listen to employee needs and establish a foundation of support for their physical, financial, and mental health.
Culture of Physical Health
Employers can set the stage for wellbeing in the workplace. The physical environment – temperature setting, lighting, workspace, and healthy snacks – support the mental and physical comfort of employees.
- Temperature: Is the temperature cool but not cold? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the ideal temperature for productivity is 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lighting: Research has shown that natural light versus artificial light has a positive effect on mood as well as efficiency in the workplace. In the absence of more windows, skip the florescent lights and opt for bright (not harsh) natural bulbs. And encourage people to get outside during the day.
- Ergonomics: This includes keyboard and monitors as well as desk height and chair. If possible, offer standing desks. They increase productivity, energy, comfort, and even promote good blood circulation!
- Breakroom: Offer healthy snacks and water and include healthy food and beverage options at group meetings, such as fruit and yogurt. Always offer water as a beverage option.
- Exercise: Employers can support physical activity in the workplace with walking groups, walking meetings, subsidized gym memberships, or yoga one evening a week in a common space.
Culture of Mental Health
The number one thing employers can do to support staff mental health is create a low stress environment. This is achieved with open dialogue about workload and workflow, respect for work-life balance, and support for the financial needs of employees.
Research shows that 42% of workers needed to take time off due to mental health in the past year. Moreover, a 2020 Gallup report found that 76% of employees experienced burnout on the job, likely leading to the new phenom of quiet quitting. Interestingly, the cause of burnout isn’t long hours, it is the lack of flexibility and support in the workplace. Flexibility can take the form of a hybrid in-office and work-at-home schedule, flexible work hours, and clear expectations for each role.
Work-life balance is a key part of this picture. Employees are well-rounded individuals with lives and interests outside the office. Companies can support employees with programs such as generous PTO, mental health days, flexibility with child- or adult-care, and behavioral health benefits.
That isn’t all. According to a 2022 survey from the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans were stressed about money during the past month. Employers can help to reduce some of this stress by offering competitive salaries, student loan repayment programs, 401k savings plans, life insurance, and emergency savings. Employee wellbeing not only enhances company culture, but necessary to attract and retain top talent. Start with an open ear to employee needs and provide benefits to support their interests.