Boost worker health in five easy steps

If you’re a typical small employer with limited resources you might wonder how you can effectively encourage your workers to get healthier.

A healthy workplace is not only good for your workers, it can also be good for your business.

Aside from boosting morale, business benefits could include more productivity, less sick leave and fewer injuries and related issues. It makes sense that healthy workers are fitter, more aware, alert and resilient against illness. Healthy workers are also less likely to sustain manual handling injuries and strains, and are more likely to recover faster from injuries and strains.

While big businesses may have plenty of resources to devote to worker health and wellbeing, there are plenty of simple, inexpensive this small businesses can do to make a difference.

Even small changes can have a huge impact. Here are five ideas:

  1. Look at workers’ eating habits, especially if lunchtime fare is fast food high in saturated fats such as burger and fries. Encourage staff to bring their own meals, provide fruit bowls, order healthier food when catering, change the contents of vending machines and promote the use of water bottles.
  2. Encouraging your workers to be more physically active – especially if jobs involve little movement for long periods of time – can have a significant impact on health. Offer flexible working hours to allow exercise time, organise discounts at local fitness clubs, encourage staff to exercise more on their morning commute, hold meetings outside and promote events like Walk to Work and Ride to Work days. Lead by example!
  3. Help sedentary workers incorporate activity into their daily routines. Provide exercise routine guides, consider hiring a personal trainer to visit the workplace, position printers further away from desks to promote walking and encourage car-bound staff to take regular stop and stretch breaks.
  4. Workplace pressure combined with external factors can affect social and emotional wellbeing. Be flexible with working arrangements, set up a break room for personal calls and quiet time, and organise advisory posters from mental wellbeing organisations such as beyondblue.
  5. Helping to assist workers quit smoking has major benefits; not just in terms of increased productivity due to less smoking breaks but making them healthier too. Non-smokers are more likely to exercise and are less vulnerable to potentially terminal diseases. Provide quit-smoking information and allow workers time to consult with GPs.

Visit the Get Healthy at Work website for more great ideas on how you can help your workers get healthier and your business better, or give us a call on 13 10 50.

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