“All work and no play makes jack a dull boy”
We are well aware of this proverb since we were kids. However, as we became adults with responsibilities, we have finally understood the real significance of this proverb in our life.
No one likes those long overdrawn work hours, which has us looking at the watch continuously, to check how much time is left.
And as a CEO myself, let me tell you if your employees are doing this, then as an employer you are doing something wrong.
It is not easy being an employer – having to look after every aspect of the company, and make sure that at the end of the day the business makes enough profit. But did you know that the success of your business partially depends on the wellbeing of your employees as well?
Is It Really Necessary To Think About Employee Wellness?
Well, the answer is yes, it is. You may not know it but the success of your business depends a lot on the well being of your employees.
One of the most important proofs of this is the fact that the loss of productivity due to lack of mental wellbeing costs the global economy $1 trillion US dollars. Ignoring the wellbeing of your employees is ultimately going to cost you a lot of money, and not to mention the reputation of your company.
That’s not all. According to a research by Businessinsider, since 2013, there has been a major rise in depression among the millennials who make up a huge part of the workforce today.
And that’s why as an employer we have to think and take proper action for the well being of the employees. It will not only ensure a better work experience for them, but it will also give businesses a better chance of succeeding in the market.
So how are we going to improve the well being of the employees at the workplace? Well, here are a few ways that have been successfully tried and tested not only by me but also some of the major organizations in the market.
Change In Office Planning
The office planning helps a lot to either increase or decrease the employee wellbeing. Which is why it is important that the floor planning matches the work culture your company reflects.
If you think that your employees will benefit from a closed cubicle policy then let the floor planning reflect so. Otherwise, choosing open floor planning will improve the overall social setting of the workplace.
According to Interdepartmental Neuroscience program Researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, it shows that workers who get better exposure to the natural light at their office perform better than the ones who get little to no natural light exposure. Having big windows and letting in a lot of natural light is going to help the employees get better sleep and improve their overall work experience.
Added to that, you can also use bright and lively colors elevates the mood of the office and makes the employees feel more comfortable and energetic. According to color theory, different color brings with it different kinds of energy, and you need to make sure that you use the colors correctly to keep the employees energetic and excited for work.
Taking Care Of Physical Fitness
It is no secret that exercising helps with physical wellness. And it also turns out to be a great way to beat work stress as well.
According to the research conducted by leading nonprofit exercise organization Acefit, exercise helps our brain to release endorphins, which has a relaxing effect on our mind. It is also an amazing way of treating anxiety and nervous disorder.
However, exercising does not mean you have to install an entire gym at your workplace. You can easily encourage your employees to get on with physical challenges, as well as organize small sporting events such as football matches to get them excited about it. This way they would not only be getting proper exercise but also make closer friends.
Flexible Work Schedules
Even though our work takes up most of our time in life, it is still important to achieving a work-life balance. To achieve proper work-life balance the employees need a flexible work schedule and the right amount of leaves.
Having a flexible work schedule leads to better chances of improving mental health. It is specifically beneficial to those who suffer from anxiety and tend to feel overwhelmed with work pressure sometimes.
With a flexible work schedule, you will be able to help your employees take care of the other aspects of their lives without having to scrimp on their work responsibilities.
As an entrepreneur myself, I have tried to implement Agile processes for development which breaks the workload and reduces mistakes.
Additionally, providing the employees with flexibility in the work schedule will show them that you trust them and encourage them to work harder for you.
Organize Social Events
Today most of the work is done in a team setting. And it is important that the employees bond together to form a friendly work environment. The study done by Ohio State University shows that teams work better when the members happen to be friends rather than strangers.
And to achieve that, having social events at your workplace, such as corporate get together, game nights, picnics, or even volunteering at local animal shelters will work as the perfect solution.
Making friends at the workplace will not only make the employees feel secure and supported, but it will also help them to engage better at work, and of course, make them feel excited about coming to work the next morning. The human mind has been designed to thrive in social connection, and adding a social event to the roster will definitely help the employees at the workplace come out of their shell, mingle more and make for better work experience.
Taking Care Of Mental Health
According to WHO, around 264 million people globally suffer from one of the most serious mental health issues depression. This means at any workplace there are at least a few employees who are battling depression.
More often than not, mental health goes undiscussed and unnoticed because of the lack of understanding, social stigma, and a general lack of knowledge about the issue.
Having mental health issues such as depression, or OCD can not only wreak havoc in the personal life but also jeopardize the work life. This is why to ensure the well being of the employees, another step will be to break the social taboo of mental health by talking about it in the workplace.
Whether by organizing/joining a seminar or arranging a counseling session for the employees, you can help them avoid such risks of mental health issues.
In this case, just a little intent and empathy will go a long way to help the employees actually open up and ask for the help they need.
Shaking Up The Work Methods
Conventional work methods can get a little boring sometimes. The same old board meetings, sitting at a cubicle for more than 8 hours, will definitely give rise to the monotony at the workplace. And to cure that you can easily attempt to spice up the work methods at your office.
Rather than having a boring boardroom meeting, make it a walking meeting. This way you will not only get work done but also get some exercise done. Famous personalities from Aristotle to Steve Jobs, all adhered to the walking meeting method.
Along with that, you can also invest in standing desks for your employees. According to Harvard health, sitting down for long periods of time can affect the body in many negative ways, such as increased chances of obesity, heart disease and many more.
Standing desks can be the perfect solution for this. Standing will help the leg and core muscles of the employees as they keep standing. Sure it might seem a little bit of hard work, but it is definitely a better way of getting out of the rut or long hours on the chair.
Throughout my years as an employer, I have learned how important it is to look after the well being of the employees. It not only makes for a happy workforce but also benefits the business. The above methods are something I’ve applied at the workplace and have seen significant improvements. So whether you are a startup or a big enterprise, these methods are sure to improve the overall well being of your employees. Let me know your thoughts!