Healthy workplaces lead to reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, increased engagement and improved productivity. Today, employers are embracing a broader understanding of workplace health and wellness including the physical, mental and lifestyle components of health. Here are 3 Elements of a Healthy Workplace – how does your office measure up?
Beyond observance of occupational health and safety protocols, the buildings we work in have an impact on employee health and wellness. Here are some of the things proactive organizations and building managers monitor and implement:
- Indoor environmental air quality and climate (ignoring indoor air risks can have significant economic impact in the form of health care costs, absenteeism and personal costs to employees)
- Susceptibility to contaminants such as mold from water damage (ongoing smart roof monitoring is one way to stay on top of potential risk)
- Indoor finishes for low chemical emissions and good fungal resistance
- Healthy, sustainable lighting options that have a positive impact on personal productivity (not to mention energy consumption) such as maximizing daylight, choosing high quality fixtures, and separating task and ambient light
Companies with a strong commitment to health and wellness encourage and inspire employees to adopt healthy behaviour. Whether driven by a true commitment to promoting employee health, or by a desire to reduce their health benefit costs, the net result is employees who benefit from employer investments in wellness programs. Activities proactive companies undertake to boost employee wellness include:
- Onsite fitness classes such as yoga over the lunch hour which aids not only physical wellness but increased mindfulness leading to better decision making and quality of work
- Adoption of ergonomic furniture such as stand-up desks and chairs that encourage movement in order to avoid risks from the so-called ‘sitting disease’
- Paying attention to corporate culture, since workplace wellness programs are more likely to be used and benefited from in organizations with a strong culture
- Taking a holistic view of employees and offering wellness programs that include all aspects of health including stress management, financial wellness, nutrition, physical activity and preventative care.
Workplaces play an important role in maintaining positive mental health. They can provide an opportunity for staff to feel valued and productive, contributing to employee wellbeing. Health and wellness is no longer confined to only the physical. With most of us spending more waking hours at work than at home, it’s critical that workplaces provide environments that support mental health. Here are some tips:
- Promote conversation surrounding mental health and mental illness in your organization. If you have an Employee Assistance Provider, bring them in for a Lunch & Learn, and make it acceptable to talk about mental health at work.
- Prioritize self-care amongst your employees – it can help prevent burnout, aid employees to better manage their stress, and boost feelings of self-worth and professional confidence.
- Train your organization’s leadership to understand the signs of mental illness and know when and how to respectfully and professionally broach conversation where appropriate.
- Provide reasonable accommodation of mental health issues at work because it makes good business sense (the cost of accommodation is much lower than the cost of a disability leave).
There is a direct correlation between where we work and our personal wellness. The safety of our office buildings, the breadth of our employer’s wellness initiatives, and the understanding leadership has of mental health issues culminate in the employee experience and impact all aspects of one’s life. Top employers seek to create workplaces that support the health and well-being of their employees and their families, and they do it not only because it’s good for business, but because it’s the right thing to do. At ILD, we’re a strong advocate for a healthy workplace whether we’re on a roof or in the office.