A healthy workforce works harder and a happy one works better. And with CSR policies becoming an essential feature of the workplace (and the increasing ease of changing jobs if your staff aren’t happy) keeping your employees’ welfare at the forefront is crucial to your long-term success. But this doesn’t have to be expensive, nor do you need to force exercise classes on your office; there are plenty of simple ways to keep employees healthy without spending a fortune on equipment that might not get used. Here’s some of our favourites:
Provide more water more often
Depending on where your office is (looking at you, London) your tap water may not be suitable for consumption. And buying bottled water can come at a premium: many employees often admit to simply choosing coffee or carbonated drinks instead. This can have a direct impact on your business, as Loughborough University researchers found that dehydrated drivers were found to make just as many mistakes whilst driving as drunk drivers. But how is this relevant to your staff we hear you ask?
- Water improves your mood: being dehydrated makes you crabby, so if you don’t want your staff to be grumpy by midday, they’ll need to be taking regular gulps of H2O regularly.
- Water keeps you alert: it can be easy to reach for a espresso or sugary treat to boost concentration, but the effects are always short lived. For an instant and continual boost in concentration your staff need to swap their caffeine hit for water.
- Water keeps you healthy: offices are hotbeds for every bug going, and as water boosts your immune system, drinking more of it will genuinely help keep your staff sickness levels down.
Consider offering healthy snacking options
Snacking in the office is here to stay, and if you can’t eradicate it (and you won’t) then you can at least make sure the option for a healthy, satisfying nibble is available for the office to indulge in. A lack of time and heightened stress levels can make tempting fast food lunches or pre-packaged convenience foods even more appealing; a quick fix but nutritionally detrimental in the long run. And if you’re wanting to avoid the office having the dreaded afternoon sugar crash, it’s time to get nutritious with snacking choices:
- Greek Yogurt
Perfect for elevenses or a mid-afternoon craving, not only will staff benefit from bone building calcium and a boost from protein levels but it may also help fend off the dreaded office germs. It’s also loaded with vitamins; for the health conscious amongst us you’ll benefit from potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
Nuts have been known to lower blood cholesterol levels and they are rich in antioxidants. Some may be high in fats and oils, but they have been known to work as appetite suppressors, and nuts rich in alpha- linolenic acid have shown to have a heart protective benefit during times of acute stress – in other words, right before that important meeting.
There’s a reason why large companies are providing free fruit on tap: widely known for being rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in calories, fruit is the ideal snack to have handy by the breakout area. In particular, the antioxidants found in berries can improve both memory and motor coordination.
- Tea and coffee
Many diets encourage people to cut out caffeine, but in moderation a study has shown that it can actually boost memory consolidation and is rich in those all-important antioxidants and amino acids. Plus, if you offer your staff a selection of teas – such as herbal, rooibos and fruit infusions – then they might stay away from the dreaded fizzy juice.
Keep the office space clean and tidy
Another bonus if you’re working in a serviced office (where there’ll be a lovely cleaner who comes in and does most of the work), keeping your office clean and tidy is paramount to both a more productive workplace, and a healthier one. It’s commonly known that office desks are a bit of a laboratory for germs, and nobody likes reading angry notes or emails about yet another mess in the fridge. Encourage your staff to keep workspaces cleaner, and you’ll have a workforce who’re off sick less often.
Go for the professional aspect
If your staff are too focused on deadlines and upcoming projects to care about keeping desks clean, try and remind them about the professionalism that a tidy desk implies. Now we don’t mean putting up signs or publicly talking to a particularly messy member of staff: this is the kind of thing you need to do leading by example. After all, a messy office can reflect poorly on someone’s performance – who’s thinking about the contract they just pulled when all people can see is the debris of yesterday’s lunch?
Look into the standing desk trend
A recent study found that breaking up workplace sitting time with bouts of standing improved both fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort in many workers – while this isn’t exactly new info, it’s important to take note of the recent advances in office furniture that mean standing up doesn’t have to mean stopping work.
Gadget Review took a look at some of the best standing desks for 2017, including everything from the affordable Jarvis standing desk (which comes in at around £400) to the luxury UpDesk UpWrite standing desk (coming in at around $1,000, you might want to keep that one for yourself).
If you’re feeling really adventurous, Business Insider put a treadmill desk in their office for a day and asked staff how they felt about it – take a look!