Much has been said in recent years about the ways in which a healthy workforce can benefit a business. Some of these benefits can include higher productivity, less absenteeism and staff turnover, and improved commitment, morale, and performance.
Companies such as Google, Swisse and the Cotton On Group are recognising this, and putting health in the workplace into practice.
How Google supports a healthy workplace
Google in Sydney is an example of a healthy workplace in action. The benefits offered to staff include relaxation rooms with sleep pods, games rooms, subsidised gym membership, and a whole heap of freebies – such as free daily meals, yoga, Pilates, exercise classes, massages, physiotherapy, flu vaccines, dietary consultations, health insurance, and certain health checks. Management at Google considers the health program is helping to keep productivity high.
These kinds of health benefits can also prevent lost work time. For instance, if a worker’s health is suffering, instead of needing time off for treatments, they may be able to get some healthcare at the workplace itself.
Google asks for feedback from workers on how the services and benefits offered can be improved. This way, staff get a say in what is provided, and may also get a greater sense of control and empowerment over their working lives.
What can a small business owner do?
While smaller businesses might not be able to offer the same level of benefits as Google, there are always things you can do to create a healthier workforce.
The first thing to do is to make sure the basics are in place – including the provision of a healthy, comfortable, and ergonomically-designed work environment that is as safe as possible. This may involve having First Aid and Safety Officers in place, conducting evacuation drills and fire safety training if required, as well as having daily professional office cleaning to ensure the premises is hygienic, clean and free of dust.
Suggestions for extra workplace benefits:
- Annual free health checks.
- Option for free flu shots.
- Sporting teams.
- Walking groups.
- Seminars on health and nutrition.
- Assistance to stop smoking.
- Recipe sharing.
- Provision of fresh healthy food in the kitchen.
- Relaxation sessions.
- Stretching or yoga sessions.
- Free counselling.
- Discounts on a local gym membership.
There may be other benefits which would appeal to your staff as well. One way to get started is to announce to your workers that you are commencing a wellness program in the workplace, and ask for their suggestions. Even just making the announcement may boost morale, and have staff feeling good!