Did you know that you spend 90,000 of your waking hours—roughly one-third of your life—at work? Moreover, if you sit behind an office desk anywhere between four to nine hours a day, you would be devoting about two months in a year exclusively to chair time, say researchers who did the math.
Given that so much of people’s time is allotted to their jobs, it’s vital for bosses and business owners to prioritize the health and wellbeing of their workforce. “Companies that put a premium on employees’ overall health and wellness can expect fewer sick leaves. They also create a positive working environment and boost employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees are happy, they not only work more productively and efficiently—which is good for business—they tend to stay in the company longer,” says Joel A. de la Rosa, MD, a cardiologist of the top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed).
Implementing health and wellness initiatives in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated or pricey. As MakatiMed points out, it can in fact be fun and benefit both management and the rank and file. Here are simple yet effective ways to improve workforce wellness:
Promote exercise. What’s not to like about exercise? It keeps you in shape, releases mood-lifting hormones, reduces stress, develops relationships, and enhances memory and concentration—all of which affect work output in a good way. “Ask employees what they’re interested in. Maybe they want to form walking or running groups, play basketball or bike together,” Dr. de la Rosa says.
“Turn a conference room into a workout place and hire a yoga or Zumba instructor to lead classes a couple of times a week. Since almost everyone has a smartwatch or can install a pedometer in their smartphones, you can organize a friendly challenge on stepping up your steps and targeting 10,000 per day.” New research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day has been linked to less cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
MakatiMed even had its own “Step Up Your Steps” program under its Cardiology department, with employees being encouraged to target the number daily, and some nifty prizes as incentives for them to reach their goals.
Support healthy eating habits. “Provide a water cooler in the pantry to resist the urge to step out for a calorie-rich coffee or milk tea. Swap salty and sweet snacks like chips and donuts served during brainstorming sessions and replace them with fresh fruits or nuts,” Dr. de la Rosa advises. According to MakatiMed, you can take this further by launching Meatless Mondays, wherein everybody becomes vegetarian for a day, or host a catered vegetarian buffet in the office, to show staffers that going meat-free can be delicious too.
Respect personal time. Emails and messaging apps have made work encroach on our out-of-office lives, so much so that it’s become almost automatic to squeeze in a request for an employee to finish a report overnight or over the weekend.
“Once employees clock out for the day or week, their time is theirs. Allow them to spend it the way they want,” Dr. de la Rosa says. “Time off from work relaxes and recharges the body, mind, and spirit, it makes one look forward to a new work week ahead. Give your employees this luxury.”
Listen. If there’s one thing all employees appreciate, it’s being told that they are valued and needed. MakatiMed underlines that knowing that management recognizes them for the work that they do motivates them to do better.
Establish an open-door policy among employees. Schedule meetings with each of them and ask them about their professional goals and what the company can do to help them grow. Hear them out on how the company or business can be better. “Open, honest discussions clear the air and establish a healthy relationship between an employer and employees, Dr. de la Rosa says.
For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email [email protected], or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.