The mental health and general well-being of employees is a hot topic right now. The pandemic was a wake-up call for many developed countries to question whether we look after our health and well-being properly.
The World Health Organisation has described the need “for action on mental health as indisputable and urgent.” Western countries, particularly America, saw high numbers of the population falling victim to Covid-19 due to co-morbidities.
Physicians have also called warning shots. Between 75-95% of all doctor’s visits are due to stress-related factors. During the pandemic, outpatient care for mental health and substance use increased on average by 13% per physician.
As a matter of fact, work-related stress is a pandemic according to the World Economic Forum. Workplace absenteeism is estimated to cost the global economy around £255 billion a year.
Calls for employers to encourage health and well-being in the workplace have been getting louder. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Walking Breaks and Walking Meetings
Sedentary jobs have been described as the “new smoking”. Without movement, there is a higher risk of desk-bound workers contracting heart disease and other cardiovascular-related illnesses.
A simple remedy is to encourage your employees to move more often. Introduce walking breaks, create an agile office and even hold walking meetings. Walking helps to reinvigorate cognitive function and has been shown to enhance creativity and improve performance.
Provide Nutritional Snacks and Meals
Food and snacks laced with sugar and high in saturated fats are deceptive tricksters in the workplace. They may appear to be comfort foods to nibble on and keep your employees going but they cause people to crash quickly – which results in a drop in performance.
A better option is to provide employees with access to healthy brain foods such as nuts, berries dark chocolate, oranges and pumpkin seeds. And there is a wide variety of healthy ingredients you can add to the canteen menu.
Promote Exercise Programs
Together with a good diet, exercise is the best way to maintain sound mental, physical and emotional health. It is expected that an increase in employee exercise programs will deliver knock-on benefits such as less absenteeism, more productivity and increased staff morale.
There are plenty of ways to organise workplace exercise programs; from team sports to gym memberships, yoga and walking clubs. Some high-yield companies are even installing gyms or a range of leisure activities such as ping-pong in the office.
Educating your staff about the importance of exercise will also motivate individuals to engage in physical activity more often. You may also want to encourage your staff to download the sweatcoin app and record the number of steps they take every day.
The sweatcoin app gives your employees the opportunity to earn digital tokens which can be exchanged for material goods with over 300 merchants. In a period of austerity where financial concerns may contribute to the decline in mental health and well-being, the ability to earn a little extra from exercising may just be the motivation some people need.