healthy-employees Studies have shown that happier employees are better employees – increasing productivity anywhere from 12% – 20% – but how can employers make sure their employees are happy?

One answer may seem obvious: focus on employee health. If your employees are not healthy, it is hard for them to be happy.

Healthy employees are less likely to call off work for sickness, companies that promote health have a greater percentage of employees at work every day, healthy employees are less likely to miss work to care for a loved one, and workplace health programs can reduce presenteeism, which is when an employee is “present” at work yet not being productive.

Bad Leadership vs Good Leadership

Perhaps the best first step to investing in your employees’ health is to make sure the leadership of your company is the best it can be.

Bad leadership is marked by individuals who refuse to listen to the employees beneath them, is complacent, doesn’t know how to set boundaries, is disorganized, is cynical, is unethical, or unfair.

Employees should always be treated as fellow human beings with respect and understanding. A leadership that views employees as “replaceable parts” or simply “numbers” will not be able to offer compassion and empathy, which are crucial to developing loyalty within and to a company. No one wants to work for a company that does not respect them or appreciate their effort.

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Offer Employee Health Programs

By promoting health, safety, and wellness programs to your employees, a company can improve overall morale and reputation. Programs can be a great marketing tool for recruiting new employees, can improve retention of current employees and create long-term loyalty, and can improve reputation by showing the community that they are serious about employee health and safety.

Looking for a workplace health program? Here are a few places to start:

Promote Preventative Care

In addition to having good leadership and offering health programs, be active in promoting preventative care. Consider offering on-site flu vaccinations during flu season. Promote mental health screenings during Mental Health Month (May). If you offer health insurance, ask the provider what discounts you may get for promoting preventative care.

Encourage Exercise

Is there a secure parking area for bikes? Are there locker rooms or showering facilities for employees who want to work out during lunch? How about simply encouraging employees to take the stairs, or park towards the back of the parking lot? There are many ways that employers can turn their worksite into an active worksite.

Bring a Doctor On-Site

A newer trend in business is to bring doctors into the office to allow employees to receive health checkups without having to call off work. This new trend has shown considerable success: a survey from the Center for Studying Health System Change found that on-site doctor visits increased productivity, reduced medical costs, and enhanced the company’s reputation for being a desirable place to work.

Consider Employee Challenges

Some professions come with challenges unlike others. A construction or warehouse position requires much more emphasis on physical safety than does an administrative assistant position. Keep note of “listening professions” such as hair stylists, bar tenders, and financial workers – individuals that often hear the life stories of their clients. Having training on professional boundaries may be extra beneficial for these types of jobs.

Offer Healthy Snacks

Have a vending machine? Swap out the cookies and candy with healthier alternatives such as water, whole wheat crackers, and baked chips.

Signs That an Employee May Be Struggling With a Mental Health Problem

  • Using more sick days
  • Quality of work is decreasing
  • Showing up late
  • Taking more frequent or longer breaks than usual
  • Not meeting deadlines
  • Not participating in meetings
  • Not interacting with colleagues
  • Focuses only on negatives

Signs That an Employee May Be Struggling With Burnout

  • Work feels rushed and stressed
  • Staying longer hours
  • Working on weekends
  • Responds negatively to constructive criticism or correction
  • Every day is a bad day
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Feels under or unappreciated
  • Speaks badly about the company

Signs That an Employee May Be Struggling With an Addiction

  • Using more sick days
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Missing important dates and deadlines
  • Appearance is not well put together
  • Irritable and defensive attitude
  • Talks of trouble at home or in relationships, particularly with finance