There comes a time every year, usually at the beginning of spring, when New Year's resolution momentum wanes. Even if they started the year off well, people become complacent and fall back into bad habits like eating junk food, camping on the couch in the evenings, or foregoing sleep. Whether or not you've noticed a slowdown in productivity, it's important to keep in mind that the health and wellness of your team directly affects company culture.
If you have an upbeat, driven team like mine, wellness may not seem like a priority until you have several staff members fall ill at the same time. Don't wait until your team is stretched thin to examine the health of your office; it's best to create an environment that makes it easy for employees to take care of themselves in the first place. Here are a few simple ways you can start promoting healthy lifestyle choices today.
Set the Menu
Diet affects almost every aspect of your life, including energy levels and focus. While it might seem like a generous perk to offer your employees vending machines filled with sugary drinks and treats, you're fundamentally enabling excess sugar consumption and stress-eating. Instead, provide fresh fruit or nuts in your break rooms, and stock your fridges with soda alternatives like sparkling water (LaCroix is a favorite in our office).
Organize Active Outings
Once a quarter my team participates in either a volunteer project or a fun hangout. We try to choose volunteer opportunities that involve gardening, sorting cans at a food bank, or running around with kids. For our spring outing, we head to a park where employees can choose to swim, canoe, go on walks, or just enjoy each other's company.
When you plan events to boost camaraderie at your company, incorporate elements of fresh air and exercise. Not every employee will enjoy rock climbing, of course, but a company picnic or a day spent moving to help a worthy cause can be great ways to get everyone out from behind their desks.
Encourage Time Off
There comes a time when everyone needs a day at home, whether to heal a physical ailment or to mentally decompress from stress. Unfortunately, some of your hardest driving people will never request that time off even though they need it the most. Whether they're tireless perfectionists or simply overwhelmed with their workload, our employees need to know that you support their time away from work.
It may seem counterproductive at first glance, but a generous PTO policy is a great way to motivate employees and keep them around long-term. Monitor unused PTO days and follow up with your staff if it looks like they're at risk of losing valuable "use it or lose it" time off by not prioritizing their own self care. When possible, we take extra measures to be flexible with employees who have sick children or pets and to provide resources for them to work from home to manage that situation with less stress.
Wellness is a vital part of healthy company culture. In a driven environment, the culture can inadvertently slip into unhealthy habits and priorities that result in stress and burnout. The easier you make it to stay well at your company, the more your employees will succeed and thrive.