Practical tips for getting a healthy company
In the most forward-looking companies, the promotion of well-being at work is an urgent task based in two objectives: to have healthier employees and to improve their competitiveness. If you are a forward-looking company, in this post we are going to give you some practical tips so that you can implement a healthy company culture.
Until a few years ago, some companies still belived that complying with health and safety regulations was all they had to do to create a healthy work enviroment. Today, no one doubts that healthy employees are more productive than unhealthy ones, and have less absenteeism. Thus, well-being at work has also become a vital weapon in the battle for talent.
Definitely, well-being in the workplace is a good business strategy. But many entrepreneurs and managers ask us about active well-being results in the medium-term. It’s not an easy task because there are multiple factors affecting health and the chances of impacting on them are limited. However, from our experience, below you will find some of the secrets to make your company healthier.
1.- Take on interest in the health of your employees and study the data. Start by developing a demographic study of your staff (age, gender, time with the company, etc.). This way you can see the most common illnesses among your workforce. And so, you will know what diseases your employees have and you will have a base to start working with. Other reports to take into account are the Epidemiological Study (result of the health check-ups) and the Study of Psychosocial Risks (analysis that you should have from time to time).
Furthermore, or if your company is very small and you don’t want to invest too much time, you can use a very simple formula: carry out an anonymous survey regarding on those health aspects that each employee would be interested in improving.
2.- Design and implement promoting healthy campaigns. This should be aimed at the most frequent complaints and which will benefit the largest number of employees. Campaigns must be oriented to the needs of your employees. Here are some guidelines with three very common examples:
A) Bone, joints and muscle complaints. Even today the complaints related to lower back pain are the most common. In order to prevent them, it’s recomended to take an approach to aspects of posture, depending on the sector in which you operate. There are training materials and information brochures from well-known organizations on the Internet that, with very little effort, you can adapt to your company.
B) Cardiovascular complaints: Sedentarism is a huge problem in the organizations and some research has identified the workplace as one of the main environments where sedentary behavior occurs (where on average we spend five hours and forty-one minutes seated). For the correct approach you must know how overweight your workforce is, acording to the BMI (Body Mass Index). If you have sedentary jobs and a workforce that is overweight, you should get to work as quick as possible. Here are two types of campaigns:
- Promoting exercice. Encourage your employees to cycle to work, put up signs for people to use the stairs, organize sports competitions with other companies or sgn up Health Apps, etc.
- Healthy nutrition. You should get rid of unhealthy food from your offices (something very common if you have vending machines). It’s also advisable to publish guidelines for healthier eating with healthy recipes and even employees competitions.
C) Psychological complains: Although they’re not the most numerous, they are the ones that can lasts longest (behind cancer). It’s difficult for doctors to determine when someone is better.
3.- Encourage employees to talk about health. You shoud involve managers, middle managers, unions and groups of employees with similar issues. Top management or management guidelines are, of course, fundamental, but we often forget that middle managers are key on delivering policy. Many large and medium-sized companies ask us to help them convince their managers to buy-in to the whole culture of well-being. Moreover, these types of policies encourage better employer branding, which is very important to attract best talent. In this regard there are ways to gain a reputation, such as qualifying for external certification or signing up to the Luxembourg Declaration. And don’t forget to create a scorecard that can monitor the level of progress in this area.
4.- Design workspaces that encourage healthy habits. The concept of the open office is not new but it’s necessary if you want to implement cooperation among teams. Keep in mind that office walls are falling and hierarchies have become flatter in every sector. This is not a fad but the right way to get work better together. Value added services for the employees increase their commitment. Therefore, private rooms, telephone booths, rest areas, coffee corners, etc., help reenforce in the idea of the company as a social unit. You can learn by reading the Steelcase report “The Compromise and Global Workspace” or Deloitte’s “The Digital Workplace”.
Implementing work well-being policies is simply a good business strategy that reduces absenteeism and increases productivity. More and more convinced of this new reality For example, the National Institute of Health and Safety in Spain has changed its name to become the National Institute of Safety, Health and Welfare at Work. Royal Decree 703/2017, of July 7, which regulates this change of name states that it is done in order to ‘adapt it to the demand of a society increasingly more sensitive and demanding with safety and health at work as a fundamental part of the social welfare’.
On the other hand, mutuals collaborating with Social Security in Spain have ample experience in advising companies on prevention. You can learn more about this by visiting Asepeyo‘s microsite, about managing absenteeism.
Welcome to the eadge of the healthy workplace!
Currently is Deputy General Director at Asepeyo and vice-president of the Association for People Management and Development in Catalonia (Aedipe).
He’s also member of the Human Resources Advisory Board of EAE Business School, of the GVC-GAESCO Advisory Board, and chairs the Governing Board of Asepeyo Corporate University. He also serves on the Governing Board of APD and is a co-founder of WEKOW Business Community.