If you employ staff, you have a duty of care. You aren’t just responsible for paying them and offering them fair treatment. You must also take care of their health and safety while they are on your premises.
Keeping them safe means that they are able to do their jobs well, they are less likely to take time off due to illness or injury, and you won’t face legal issues if someone is injured or hurt while working.
But it also means that your staff will be happier. They’ll enjoy work more. Staff morale will be high, which will benefit productivity, and you will grow a loyal team, that know each other and work well together.
A workplace that promotes good health will also impact your own health. We all spend a lot of time in our workplaces, if there are germs, bacteria and other nasties, we are likely to pick them up. Here are some of the things that you should consider when it comes to ensuring your workplace promotes good health.
Is the Kitchen Hygienic?
If you work in a food business, you’ll have already spent time learning about The four Cs. You might have had a health and safety inspection, and you’ll know how important food hygiene is if you are serving the public. But, what about other food on your premises?
Even if your business has nothing to do with food, your staff might eat in your break room. You might have a staff canteen or cafe. Or, there might just be a small kitchen area, with a fridge, coffee machine and basic supplies.
If anyone eats in your workplace, you need to take food hygiene seriously. Make sure your kitchen and supplies are clean, and that they meet all health and safety standards.
Do You Make Healthy Eating Easy?
Most of us eat at least one meal at, or near our places of work. Most of these meals are unhealthy. We eat fast food on the go, we snack from vending machines, or buy whatever is near. Even people that prepare healthy meals will turn to sugary snacks if they are on offer.
But, a healthy diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. If you want your team to be healthy, make it easy for them to eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Give them the tools that they need to make healthy meals, make sure drinking water is readily available and keep your fridge stocked with low-fat snacks. If you have vending machines, make sure there are some healthy options as well as treats.
Do You Offer Flexible Working?
Tired, overworked staff are more likely to be overweight and stressed out. They are less likely to exercise and see the doctor when they need to. They might not even have time to look after themselves.
Offering flexible working hours can benefit both physical and mental health, improve mood and morale, increase loyalty and boost immunity. Offer flexible working, and your staff will be well-rested, happy and healthy. Speak to them about their needs, and do what you can to cater to them.
Is the Office Setup Comfortable?
If your employees spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, its set up is crucial. Offer comfortable seats with excellent back support. Make sure desk setups are ergonomic so that they don’t put pressure on eyes, necks, backs, wrists or legs. Again, speak to your employees, to find out what would make them more comfortable while they work.
How is the Air Quality?
Air quality isn’t something that we give much thought to. But, when you spend a lot of time in one building or room, the quality of the air can start to impact your health.
Regular breaks give us a chance to walk around and stretch our legs. Working our muscles, boosting circulation and stretching stiff limbs and joints. They also improve mood, give us a chance to drink more water and increase productivity. Look at current break policies, and consider regular short breaks, instead of one long lunch.
Do You Encourage Movement?
Standing desks are becoming more popular, as they help to keep our backs straight and mean that we burn more calories. But they aren’t always comfortable. You might choose a mixture of standing and sitting, and encourage movement with regular breaks.
But, you might also want to encourage movement and exercise outside of the workplace. Start a company team and join a league, or offer discounted gym memberships if you could work with a local facility.
A lot of different things contribute to the atmosphere in your office. There should be plenty of natural light and lighting options which make it easy to work. There shouldn’t be too much unnecessary noise or smells. Adding plants, keeping walls bright and adding personal touches can all improve the atmosphere.
Often, creating a healthier workplace doesn’t take massive changes and huge amounts of work. In many cases, making a few simple changes can have a significant effect.
Take your time to assess how healthy your workplace is, speak with your staff about their health, mood and comfort, and try some changes together. It doesn’t all have to be done at once, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to create a healthier workplace.