The corporate culture of a company encompasses a wide range of aspects that define its values, beliefs, behaviors, and practices. Even if these aspects can vary from one company to another, they should include such a crucial element as a culture of health. The importance of workforce health was first prioritized in the USA – employees were offered various fitness programs.
In the 1970s, the trend spread to Europe and gradually grew into a massive wellness movement – it touched on the issue of both physical and mental well-being. After the pandemic, this theme is experiencing a real boom. No wonder as
What is a culture of health?
To have a strong culture of health means much more than providing employees with sick leaves and annual vacation. It is a working environment where people feel safe, comfortable and valued. It is a space that reduces stress levels and motivates each individual. Satisfied employees feel happy and are more productive. They do not overuse days off or sick leaves and are also less likely to get tired and burn out. The staff’s well-being directly relates to company success – the higher the level of employee satisfaction, the higher the performance indicators.
Establishing a health-focused culture involves a lot of practices that enhance the health and overall well-being of every company worker. It is a system of guidelines, routines, and shared expectations that endorse and boost healthy habits, both during working hours and in personal life.
Key elements of employees’ well-being.
Employees’ well-being is not limited to just physical health; it is also influenced by mental and emotional factors. American psychologist Martin Seligman offered the PERMA model that identifies areas responsible for the level of satisfaction and happiness of employees. The abbreviation PERMA stands for:
- positive emotions
- relationships meaning
The PERMA model is an efficient tactic that can help create a positive working environment for a happy and productive workforce.
Why does employees’ well-being matter?
From a business perspective, a company gets a range of benefits if its employees are happy:
- Productivity. Well-being increases productivity and efficiency. When employees feel happy at work, they lead healthier lifestyles and make better decisions.
- Team morale. Employees feel more competent and valued when their needs are met on all levels, including physical, mental and financial.
- Talent retention. If your company has a reputation of an employer that respects and supports work-life balance, you are more likely to attract qualified candidates and retain your employees for a longer period of time.
- Customer engagement. Happy employees are the best brand ambassadors. If you treat them well, employees will be more interested in providing better service and meeting customer needs.
Steps to create a healthy working environment.
A culture of health involves several policies you need to gradually implement in your day-to-day operations.
Create comfortable environment
The working space seriously influences the mood, behavior and values of people. So, it is necessary to create the most comfortable working conditions. There should be enough natural light, comfortable furniture and indoor plants. If the budget allows, offer your employees to customize their working areas. Another idea is to have different areas in the office – these are places for talking and being social, for relaxing, and some for collaboration. Having healthy snacks in the office is a great perk – this approach helps employees feel more energetic in the afternoon.
A culture of health is impossible without wellness initiatives. Studies show that about 70% of workers take part in wellness programs if their employers offer them. Employee wellness covers not just the mind but also the body. So, to support well-being, it’s essential for the company to promote physical fitness, for example, by organizing lunchtime walking groups. For mental well-being, encourage short breaks and be aware of the amount of work employees have to do.
Focus on mental health
Wellbeing is impossible without mental health. When companies support mental health, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Employees are happier and more satisfied with their jobs, consequently more productive and engaged. They are more likely to demonstrate high performance metrics. It enables employers to contribute to their brand reputation and attract both talents and customers. Companies should organize mental days and activities, such as fun events, that allow employees to relax and recharge. Sometimes, it can be something very simple, for example, playing music in the office and raising everyone’s mood.
Provide strong communication
Maintaining effective communication within a team, not limited to formal interactions between employees and managers, fosters a more positive work environment. In case of remote distributed teams, companies can use SaaS tools and platforms such as video conferencing, instant messaging tools, and project management platforms to create better communication channels. Although personal differences are not rare, they don’t have always have a bad outcome. In fact, constructive disagreement and conflict can be valuable in a company, as they can lead to fresh ideas and diverse viewpoints. As long as the team communicates openly and disputes are well-managed, it is a healthy workplace.
Use leaders to pave the way
The role of leaders in maintaining a health culture is huge. In many cases, mid-level and front-line leaders have more direct contact with employees than top managers. It makes them ambassadors of healthy habits and allows integrating more ideas into the company’s culture. They make critical decisions that influence employees’ working routines, flexibility, and well-being. Besides, they can support those who switch to healthier lifestyles by offering monetary and non-monetary rewards.
Keep work-life balance
A healthy balance between work and life helps to create a thriving work environment. It is not a rare case that the work takes almost all the time of a person. The ideal work-life balance is 30% work and 70% personal life. Companies can promote this principle by emphasizing the importance of leaving work at the workplace, encouraging employees to take time off, and enabling flexible working schedules. Achieving a work-life balance is not only beneficial for one’s health and personal relationships, but it can also enhance employee productivity and job performance.
Reward and recognize
Employers who are determined to boost their team morale should acknowledge and appreciate the effort of their employees. Recognizing an employee’s contributions can range from a simple “thank you” to more substantial gestures like financial bonuses, additional time off, and other incentives. Reminding a team of their importance can have a significant impact on overall morale.
Creating a comfortable working space for employees is a must today. Nearly 50% of the workforce are millennials, and soon, they will make up the largest segment of the market. This generation has high expectations to employer’s reputations and the perks they offer, including working environment and well-being culture.
Employers who value the physical, mental and emotional health of their employees will eventually win. They will be rewarded by improved productivity, better customer trust and engagement. Besides, they will solve the issue of workforce turnover. Employees do not leave companies that are taking steps to improve the well-being of their teams. It is important to understand that well-being is an ongoing process. There are always ways to improve working conditions. So just take things one step at a time, and soon, you will witness stunning results.