An office worker will spend most of the working day sitting down whether it’s in front of their computer, in a meeting or in the canteen at lunchtime and, over time, this can cause many problems both physically and mentally.
As an employer, part of your duty is to care for your employees, helping them to be as productive and healthy as possible. In fact, a growing number of companies are pushing for wellbeing initiatives in the office, even if it’s just something simple, such as encouraging group lunchtime walks or offering free exercise classes.
By offering these initiatives, companies will not only see an improvement in their employees’ professional performance, motivating them to continue growing and developing, but they will also improve their employees’ satisfaction rates and overall employer brand.
Here are five of the most common practices to help promote health and wellbeing in the workplace:
Small simple tricks when sitting at a desk can help to improve posture.
Focus on stretching and straightening the back every time you’re sat down so that your muscles are not straining more than required. Always make sure that you’re not resting your head on your hands and ensure you’ve set the computer at an appropriate height to avoid neck pain.
Technology can also help to encourage activity. Smart watches or wristbands usually have activity sensors that can alert the user when they have not moved for a while. This can also become a fun team activity. The owner of the wristband alerts the rest of the team that it's time to do some exercise and together they can perform arm stretches, torso rotations, squats or neck stretches.
Offering financial help to pay for gym fees or offering flexible compensation plans can also be a great way to get your office employees moving more, as well as encouraging team building within departments.
This idea fulfills two objectives: the first, to encourage the most reluctant of workers to go to the gym and be active and, the second, to create a relaxed work environment.
Including physical activity in employees’ day-to-day helps them to keep in shape, as well as relieving work stress, helping them to rest better at night.
Wellbeing isn’t just about physical exercise. One of the biggest trends that has increased over the years is the practice of relaxation or mindfulness exercises.
As with physical exercise, there are several mindfulness and relaxation initiatives you can offer our employees. Some offices might hire a professional to come in and give wellbeing sessions, others might implement a corporate wellbeing plan that encourages employees to attend relaxation, mindfulness or yoga classes on a weekly basis. These techniques can help employees better deal with daily problems, improve concentration and learn to face challenges, without too much pressure, stress or self-demand.
We have already talked about the postural problems caused by sitting at our desks but let’s not forget that there are also many workers whose day-to-day work involves a lot of physical activity or standing up for long periods of time which can cause many muscle and joint problems.
Companies can help their workers improve their muscle or joint problems by hiring a physiotherapist that regularly goes to the office to treat employees. Or, working with a clinic near the office, so that staff can make appointments when they need it.
How many times have you heard that the best accompaniment to exercise is a healthy diet? This is one of the key points to consider if you want to launch an effective corporate wellness plan for your company.
If there is a shared canteen in the workplace, try to make the menu as balanced, healthy and adapted to dietary needs as possible, including healthier options that are less calorific.
If there isn’t a canteen, companies and offices can also hire dedicated food companies that prepare healthy food menus to distribute in the office. So this can also be an option.
You can also organise talks on healthy cooking, what to eat at what time of year to make the most of seasonal food, how to adapt diets to allergies, etc.
Although there are lots of initiatives out there, it’s important that you tailor these to your workplace needs. Ask staff what they want to get out of their workplace before incorporating any big changes. That way, you’ll have expectations to work towards, as well as improving the relationship between you and your employees.
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The unbreakable link between performance management and employee engagement
The concept of employee engagement, around since the early nineties, was first introduced in “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work” in the Academy of Management Journal.