How to Keep Employees Happy and Healthy
One of our favorite journalists, Cat Clifford from Entrepreneur, wrote two great articles this week on unhappy workers attributing to lost revenue and why business owners should care about their health. We agree that both mental and physical health has a big impact on a company’s bottom line, so we wanted to expand on Cat’s thoughts and share ideas for ways that you can keep employees happy and healthy so everyone is productive, engaged and feeling great.
It’s true that most startup and small business owners and employees dedicate more than 40 hours of work each week to helping their company grow. But it comes at a cost, usually personal wellness. Cat’s second article on caring about your health had an interesting graphic in it:
This chart tells the story of what employees feel like they’re missing most out of their lives since they spend so much time at work. Using this, we put together some ideas on what employers can do to add value for their team in return for the hours and dedication they put in. And it had a surprisingly familiar ring to it.
We’ve all had it happen. You look at the clock and realize it’s two hours later than you thought. You got sucked into a project and didn’t even realize that you hadn’t moved for three straight hours until your leg started going numb. Scheduling time to get employees up from their desk, even for 10 minutes, to move around can have a positive impact on the rest of the day. At Abacus, we have Jazzercise scheduled at 2:50pm every day. We do a quick, easy exercise like jumping jacks to get the blood moving again. It helps fight the afternoon lag and gets us all up doing something as a group.
Who doesn’t have snacks these days? They are a staple item in any startup or small business kitchen. Try to keep them healthy. By getting rid of sugary snacks, you’ll avoid the afternoon crashes that follow. Swap out the Twizzlers for some fresh fruit, yogurt or trail mix options.
Rewarding a job well done is a great way to make employees feel appreciated, but be careful what you are rewarding. Focus on the quality of work, not the number of late nights spent getting it done. Employees should feel like they can leave work before 7pm and still have their work recognized. This will help reinforce your commitment to work life balance.
Lack of sleep is the number one cause for most ailments and is behind a lot of poor decisions. Places like the Huffington Post boast about their nap rooms and places like the YeloSpa let you purchase an afternoon power nap in one of their special pods. But most importantly, offer an area for employees to take a few minutes to relax, whether a comfy sofa or a full-on nap room. This will give them a few minutes to rejuvenate and get the creative ideas flowing again.
Make health and well-being a priority at your company by sending home sick employees and encouraging taking personal days now and then to relax. Employees shouldn’t feel obligated to come to work if their health is on the fritz. Encourage that employees (responsibly) take personal time to stay both mentally and physically happy.
Do these ideas seem somewhat familiar? It’s because they are similar to the daily routines of elementary school students. Over the course of school and our careers, we forget to take care of a part of ourselves that affects everything we do – our well-being. So get back to your pre-K roots and take a recess!