Staff well-being is one of the most important factors for a business owner to consider. Worker health has a clear impact on productivity, so making an effort to keep them in shape will certainly pay dividends in the future.
While there isn't a lot that small businesses can do beyond work hours, there is plenty that organisations can achieve between 9 and 5.30 to keep employees healthy.
So what can companies do to make sure their workers are staying healthy? Here are five different strategies small businesses can pursue.
1) Start measuring the areas you want to improve
Any effort to improve staff well-being has to have an end goal in mind. Whether it is reducing the number of sick days, lowering turnover or increasing productivity there are many possible benefits that your organisation might enjoy.
Once you have picked one to focus on, start measuring it so there is a base to compare your results against. If it's a number like sick days, don't inform staff that you are tracking it, simply start gathering the information so you know how effective your efforts are.
2) Ban eating at desks
This one might not be too relevant if your staff aren't located in an office, but for many organisations, employee's eating at their desk is considered normal - especially if staff are facing tight deadlines.
Having a no eating at desks policy can certainly help staff break this habit, start moving during the day and also socialising with their colleagues. What's more, it reduces the chance of staff mindlessly consuming food while they are preoccupied with another task.
3) Have a "no internal emails" day
Likewise, this one is about disrupting the bad habits that staff can slip into in an office environment. When it comes to emails, we are all guilty of sending more than we need to, especially regarding internal matters that could be just as easily handled in person.
A no internal emails day gives your staff a reason to get out of their desks and interacting face-to-face with their colleagues. Again, this encourages them to keep moving while also boosting the emotional well-being of the office by building relationships that can't be formed through a web browser.
4) Enforce a 40-hour week
With mobile devices and advanced internet connections it has become increasingly easy for staff to take their work home, as the line between professional and personal lives continues to blur. Many small-business owners will also be aware of the long hours that it takes to build a company and there will always be times when staff have to go the extra mile and work overtime.
That said, there are very good reasons to enforce a 40-hour work week. Once staff stay focussed on a job for more than 40 hours, their productivity decreases rapidly, nosediving after the 70-hour mark. As well as lower productivity, staff working overtime will have higher rates of absenteeism than other workers.
To help solve this, make sure that staff are only working the hours they are paid for and aren't taking on too much additional work that might jeopardise their health.
5) Lead by example
This last one is also perhaps the most important. If staff see you taking your own well-being seriously, they will likely follow suit. As with every aspect of an organisation's culture, the example that you set as a business leader will positively shape all of your employees, so make sure to practice what you preach and get serious about boosting your own well-being.
There are many other simple workplace wellness tips and tricks that can help your business stay in shape. Keeping staff on their toes - sometimes literally - by introducing new challenges when needed can ensure your business is healthy, productive and functioning at its peak.