Guest Blog by Iain Thomson, Director of Incentive & Recognition at Sodexo Engage
The start of the year is the time when a lot of staff comeback from their holidays feeling determined to keep fit. Whether it’s dieting, going to the gym or trying out veganism, there are loads of things that employees are doing to keep healthy.
This gives employers the perfect opportunity to get on-board and try out some of these practices too, to make sure these good habits stick.When the company gets it right, it not only makes staff happier, but also leads to better business results as well.
Drop and give me 20
Given the gloom of winter mornings, it’s easy to question whether staff are really going to feel any happier just from being healthier. But the facts are clear – keeping in shape is a great way to de-stress, feel more positive and improve everyday thinking. Staff who look after themselves are also likely to sleep better and have a better work/life balance as well, so making sure staff stick to their health regimes really does yield benefits for everyone.
It’s not just about physical benefits though- staff are likely to perform better at work as well. With a healthier attitude, staff are likely to be more focused and feel more motivated. A healthier workforce therefore leads to improved engagement in the business, increased output and better collaboration between staff – so what more can an employer ask for?
Feel the burn
But even with all these benefits, it’s easy to wonder whether it should really be company’s responsibility to make sure staff are healthy. Depending on the benefits offered, employers may already have a huge range of activities that staff can engage with, so why should health take priority? Well, it’s about getting into the mindset of the average employee in the New Year.
After the holiday period, many people feel more health conscious and keen to keep to a routine. The problem is that work can be a great distractor – whether it’s office snacks, time-consuming projects or just a stressful day, there are a lot of reasons for people to break their clean-living streak.
Making work a place that supports the team’s New Year resolutions and commitments will help staff feel more motivated – both in and out of work. So, if the company prioritises health benefits in the New Year, it can actually set up the business for success in the long run by encouraging staff to be more productive and work better every day.
But how can the business make these health benefits happen? Well, sometimes it’s about showing off what’s already there. If there’s a subsidised gym membership, cycle-to-work schemes or sporting clubs, now’s the time to remind staff that these things are on offer. If employees are more aware of the ways the company is helping them keep healthy, they’ll be more likely to stick to their health regime.
Then it’s about taking it a step further. Things like office yoga, encouraging regular breaks and putting on socials will not only keep people healthy, but also make the team feel more positive about the year ahead. It’s important to be conscious of everyone’s commitments though; there’s no point taking the whole team for a nice lunch if there’s no vegan option on the menu, as some staff could end up feeling left out. So, whatever events are planned, it’s important to make sure that everyone feels included and welcome to join in.
It’s also important to provide some flexibility, of course. Even the most dedicated people need a treat now and then, so as the year goes on, think about introducing some benefits that bridge the gap – maybe a rock-climbing social followed by a dinner, or kick boxing and then drinks? Making sure there’s some balance in the events on offer will keep staff consistently motivated and not just punishing themselves after an over-indulgent holiday period. The New Year is a time to focus on health and it can be easy to think that it’s solely the responsibility of staff. But having the right benefits in place and the right way of working with employees will make sure they’re motivated and driven – both at work and home.