If you are like the majority of people who spend 60% of their waking hours at work, then you cannot afford to neglect your health during these hours. Companies that offer their employees a means to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the workplace have found that well-being is good not just for the individual, but also for the business. Healthy employees means lower absenteeism and disability, improved productivity, increased morale, and ultimately lower health care costs. Drinking water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure your body is operating optimally.
Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, which makes it the most important place to care about well-being. Employees who take care of their well-being are generally:
- more productive
- less prone to illness and injury, and therefore,
- lead a better quality of life.
There are 4 principle ways to care for your well-being at work:
Studies show that most people have poor eating habits at work, which has a negative impact on health, productivity and company performance.
According to some experts, a lack of physical activity is one of the most serious health issues facing our modern society. Finding time for exercise during your busy day may not always be easy, but there are some simple things you can do to keep yourself fit.
- Stress Management
Balancing the demands of work life and home can be a major source of stress; some simple techniques can help you improve your well-being and quality of life.
A properly designed workspace is an important component of well-being at work; some simple things can make a big difference.
There is a growing body of evidence that proves that the performance of a company is directly linked to the well-being of its employees. Since most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, it is only logical that the workplace should be a point of wellbeing for employees.
Present, but unaccounted for: Presentee-ism
- While employers once worried about absenteeism and the problem of employees not showing up for work, an increasing number of workers are suffering from "presentee-ism" - when they show up for work, but are not productive
- Presentee-ism is more prevalent than absenteeism and is tougher to identify and control. It has been estimated that the average worker operates at only 65-70% of their potential.
- Staff who suffer from presentee-ism come to work but are not productive because they feel sick, are injured, stressed or distracted. They are present, but not actually "there". Lost productivity due to presentee-ism is on average 7.5 times greater than productivity lost to absenteeism.
- Presentee-ism not only hurts employee productivity, it has a direct impact on a company's bottom line. In the USA, a recent study by one of the nation's leading health improvement service providers found that presentee-ism costs employers more than $180 billion annually in lost productivity.
- Presentee-ism sufferers may have legitimate reasons to be absent, but often feel they have to go to work to be seen. They tend to believe that visibility improves their chances of keeping their job and getting a promotion in the future. In reality, they risk infecting their colleagues with their illness, or de-motivating them by their attitude and fatigue.
- Solving the problem of presentee-ism isn't a clear-cut process. However, knowing that it exists in the first place and ensuring employees have work-life balance is a step in towards overcoming the problem.
HEALTHY EATING AT WORK
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that adequate nourishment can raise productivity levels by 20%. So for employers who rely on the performance level of their employees for the productivity and efficiency of the company, supporting the nutrition of employees makes good sense.
A large proportion of disorders and diseases from which people suffer are preventable. After tobacco, nutrition is the single largest modifiable factor. According to WHO, scientific evidence supports the view that alterations in diet have strong effects on health throughout a person's lifetime. Most important, dietary adjustments not only influence present health, but may determine whether or not a person will develop such diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes later in life. The employers who take steps to support their employees' healthy nutrition reap benefits now and in the future.
Worksite health promotion studies have quantified the relationship between good health and increased productivity. The good news for employers is that investing in employee health and well-being provides benefits on two fronts: first, with improved employee productivity, and secondly through reductions in healthcare costs. A recent review of the return on investment (ROI) for health promotion programs in the USA found and average ROI of $3.14 per dollar spent.
How can employers encourage healthy nutrition among their employees?
Some suggestions include providing:
- Water coolers or bottled water.
- Healthy food in cafeterias and vending machines.
- Refrigerators to store and microwaves to heat meals brought from home.
- Education and guidelines for healthy eating patterns.
- Consultation with a qualified nutritionist.
Tips for healthy Eating at Work:
- Don't skip meals – especially breakfast; you'll be more likely to snack on convenience foods that don't offer any nutritional value.
- Plan ahead and bring a healthy lunch and snacks from home.
- If you feel the need to snack, avoid high calorie or sugary choices, such as candy, chips and soda; they offer no nutrients and within hours you'll be hungry again and looking for another snack. Instead try nuts, fruit, cereals and yogurt.
THE PROFESSIONAL PAUSE
As modern workplaces become ever more computerised, we now spend most of our working time in sedentary postures and often in rather uncomfortable positions. Absorbed by the "virtual world", we tend to pay less and less attention to our physical sensations and bodily needs.
There is a growing recognition of the importance of taking frequent breaks during the workday. Employees can benefit from a moment of relaxation and rejuvenation, which improves their productivity and efficiency. In addition, many occupational illnesses and injuries caused by repeated traumas and accumulated fatigue, could be prevented by simply taking a break! These ‘professional pauses' prove to be beneficial both to individual health and to the company's bottom line.
Some debate remains as to whether breaks should be passive or active, or more specifically, whether people should stretch or remain motionless, but there is no doubt as to the importance of the professional pause. Taking a moment away from what you are doing helps give the body and mind a rest, thereby reducing physical strain and mental stress.
The professional pause also provides a moment for social bonding, and an opportunity to meet the body's physiological need for water. It is in these moments of movement, refreshment and recuperation that employees can enhance their individual well-being, which ultimately improves the company's performance.