Three ways to improve employee’s physical wellbeing

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Maintaining and improving physical health and wellbeing in the workplace is enormously important for both employers and employees alike.

From a business perspective, employees are your most important asset; without a healthy and engaged workforce, organisations will struggle to achieve productivity and profitability.

In other words, companies need to take employee health and wellbeing seriously, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the organisation.

A lot of recent wellbeing focus has been on financial, emotional and mental wellness, but it is too easy to forget about how important employee’s physical fitness and physical health is.

In addition to the obvious cultural benefits of having healthier, happier employees – physically fit employees can help boost productivity, reduce absenteeism and decrease rates of illness and presenteeism.

With this in mind, corporate-sponsored health and wellness programmes are fast becoming an essential element to competitive employee compensation and benefit packages, which attract and retain the best talent.

Here are three tactics HR can adopt to improve both your employee’s physical health and, in turn, their performance at work.

1.  Provide more healthy options

Having food available in the office makes it quick and easy for employees to snack when they need that little bit of extra energy to get through the day. But when your employees are reaching for a snack, make sure there are some healthy options there for them to choose.

Technological advancements have made the delivery of remote healthcare possible anytime, anywhere.

Swap or balance out the fizzy drinks and chocolates in the vending machines with healthier options. Stock the office kitchen or tuckshop with nutritious snacks such as fresh fruit, healthier drink options and dried fruit mixes. It is also important to make sure you’re also allowing enough space for employees to store or prepare fresh food for their lunch breaks.

2. Incentivise physical activity

Encouraging physical exercise can be challenging for both office staff who are mainly seated at a desk all day and those out and about in different locations. One of our clients encouraged employees to get healthy by offering fitness tracking bands free of charge to staff from their employee benefits platform.

Employees created teams amongst themselves and competed to walk the most steps each month. HR tracked each team’s progress and plotted this on a central map. Staff were incentivised to continue their health and fitness journey through a £500 prize, which could be spent on health and wellbeing products or experiences.

If your budget is a little tighter, there are still many ways you can incentivise activity. Offering accessories such as wearable fitness bands via a salary sacrifice scheme can be a great way to encourage employees to get moving without impacting the HR budget too much.

The cycle to work scheme, run and partially funded by the government, is another great way to encourage improvements in physical health and is environmentally friendly to boot.  

3. Give access to digital healthcare

Technological advancements have made the delivery of remote healthcare possible anytime, anywhere. There’s no longer any need to wait the average 2 weeks for a GP appointment. Technologies allows employees to book their appointment and complete the GP consultation at home or the office via their smartphone.

Providing employees with instant access to medical advice and healthcare as a benefit can greatly reduce both the absenteeism caused by attending traditional GP appointments and the presenteeism caused by the delay of seeking medical advice.

Health and wellbeing strategies and initiatives can be as varied as the workforces they are created to serve; however, the bare bones should be the same.

With the CIPD reporting that 86% of businesses have suffered from presenteeism in the past 12 months - with only one quarter of those having taken steps to discourage it - digital health solutions are expected to grow in popularity.

Health and wellbeing strategies and initiatives can be as varied as the workforces they are created to serve; however, the bare bones should be the same.

They should encompass mental, financial and physical wellbeing and help your employees make the right choices. When it comes to their physical health this could be anything from food selection, encouraging physical activity or just making sure they can get themselves checked out when they’re under the weather.  

 

About Hayley Dolby

Hayley Dolby

Hayley is Communications Executive at Personal Group, a technology enabled employee services business which works with employers to drive productivity though better employee engagement and a more motivated workforce. With over 30 years’ experience, the Company provides employee benefits, serving 550 businesses, reaching over 2 million employees across the UK.

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