January 23, 2023
Having an effective team is crucial to meeting business goals and overall success. However, an effective team is more than having the right skills for the job. Every team member needs the proper skill set, an environment conducive to productivity, and good health.
Unfortunately, people often forget how paramount good health is until they feel unwell and cannot go about their lives as they normally would.
When it comes to people management, understanding good health, how it supports your organization, and how you can encourage it is of utmost importance.
Employee health refers to workers’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. While physical health is usually front and center, mental and emotional well-being carry just as much weight as physical health.
With workplaces getting more demanding, mental and emotional well-being help employees cope with these pressures and manage stressors and negative emotions in a healthier manner. This is just as important for their productivity as their physical health.
Prioritizing employee health is often justified as a means to minimize or prevent employee absenteeism. This is a gross misconception, as attendance does not necessarily mean productivity.
Conversely, there are direct links between employee health and productivity. Similarly, mental health and performance studies have also found solid psychological explanations linking mental wellness to good performance.
But how does this happen?
Here are some ways in which good health supports optimal productivity.
An employee feeling unwell will take sick days, leave the office early, or remain in the office but not yield much.
Aside from pending tasks, absenteeism and missing employees disrupt your business continuity and negatively affects other team members.
As a result, your productivity suffers, not just for individual employees but also for group tasks and collaborative projects.
A physically, emotionally, or mentally unwell employee will often be unable to focus on work, thanks to the internal issues they are grappling with.
These take their focus and concentration away from work-related tasks, which can be seen in multiple ways.
One is that employees with decreased focus take longer to complete tasks.
The second is that employees with lower concentration tend to make more mistakes on the job. This can be disastrous for employees working with heavy machinery and those handling money.
Employees in good health are happier than those whose health is failing. But does happiness impact productivity?
Yes, it does.
Research shows that happy employees are 13% more productive than unhappy employees.
How does this happen? Happy employees are more engaged, care more, and give more of themselves to ensure organizational success.
Happy employees are also a joy to be around and collaborate well.
Not just that, but happy customer-facing employees can deliver stellar customer experiences. Good customer experiences support customer loyalty, higher spending, and, ultimately, higher sales.
Lastly, as much as healthy employees are happy, the reverse is also true: happy employees are healthier. This means lower stress levels and depression, which are excellent for productivity.
We all know what it feels like to be sick. Even a minor illness like a simple cold can cause discomfort and lethargy.
Healthy employees think clearly and have more energy. This supports creativity, innovation, and risk-taking. These elements lead to higher productivity levels and help steer an organization forward.
Unhealthy employees need to take time off or underperform. Since work has to go on, their workload is handed to other employees.
This can overload these employees and affect their morale, affecting their productivity as well.
Some tasks can also be given to people in different departments. They might manage to get things done, but not as quickly or as well as the original job holder would. This causes a dip in productivity.
Granted, good health is personal, and individuals must prioritize their health. However, there are things employers can also do to support their employee’s efforts to attain and maintain optimal health.
Some of these are:
Often, people forego medical care because of the associated costs. Providing medical cover removes this burden from your employees, allowing them to seek treatment as soon as they fall sick.
Creating a safe workspace means recognizing and addressing all potential hazards your workers face in the line of duty. It aslo means holding occasional safety training to empower workers on safety issues.
The result is a more aware workforce and lower accidents that could incapacitate employees.
Consider having healthy work lunches daily or a few days weekly if your budget allows.
Similarly, remove coffee and soda from the vending machine and replace them with healthy juices, smoothies, and good old water.
Aside from physical health, your employee’s emotional and mental health is just as important. Look into relaxation sessions, happy hours, minimizing negative office politics, and creating outlets for employees to voice their concerns.
Some companies have a counselor their employees can talk to about their finances, relationships, and careers to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Wellness tests are baseline tests that help identify where your employees are as far as their health is concerned. A good wellness testing partner can help identify budding problems and provide follow-ups on chronic ailments.
Programs like running groups, weekend fitness boot camps, and cycling to work are great ways to get your employees to work out. Encourage employees to take these up and stick to them over time.
Similarly, support mental health by allowing regular breaks, vacation time, and flexi-time.
Your employee’s health will affect your business revenues and profitability. It, therefore, makes sense to set aside resources for employee health. One thing forward-thinking companies have implemented is wellness testing for their employees.
Wolfe Inc. is here to help employers and medical providers combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic by offering the most comprehensive employment drug testing services available. Our Team of employment toxicology testing experts are here to assist your practice, company or school system with any questions you might have!