Health is on the forefront of everyone’s minds, whether we are trying to eat better, exercise more, get enough sleep or look after our mental health.
Since we marked World Health Day last month, it seems fitting to dive into the topic further. This year the World Health Organisation is focused on universal health coverage, which ensures that everyone can obtain healthcare when they need it in their community.
It is no wonder businesses are increasingly implementing initiatives to look after their employees’ health. It not only shows that they care about their employees, but it also increases productivity and company morale. Overall wellness is comprised of many personal choices, and if a workplace can make a healthy lifestyle more accessible, then employees will often embrace the positive change.
At Hardie Grant Media, we think health should be integrated into your business strategy, corporate values and vision.
Here are a few of the things we do to encourage health and wellness in the workplace.
At 3pm each day the team stands up to do 10 minutes of stretching. It’s a nice chance to move around, be away from the screen and chat to your colleagues.
Hardie Grant employees in Sydney have the option to join another business in the same building to do a yoga class. It promotes relaxation and is a great use of the lunch hour. Employees come back to work energised and ready to take on the next half of the day.
Sydney employees have access to a discounted pool and gym membership 400m from the office.
Ride to work breakfast
About once a quarter our Melbourne office hosts a “ride to work” breakfast that encourages people to ditch the car and ride or walk to work. We have a whole spread of healthy treats available, so everyone can start the day with a burst of energy.
Every Monday, Melbourne staff have the option to finish at 4.30pm to go for a run around the Tan Track, a 3.8km track around the Botanic Gardens. It doesn’t matter how fit you are – everyone is welcome!
We regularly get together for lunchtime trivia. It’s an excuse for everyone to take a mental break and do something fun. The winning team scores book prizes (plus bragging rights), and there are lollies for everyone else.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Everyone in our offices is given three complimentary confidential counselling sessions with AccessEAP. People can use these sessions to talk about anything financial, personal or work related.
Flexible working hours
Employees have the option to start between 8am and 9.30am and finish between 4.30 and 6pm. This promotes a healthy work/life balance.
Hardie Grant also encourages teamwork, open communication and promotes innovation and creativity.
How to introduce health and wellbeing initiatives to your workplace?
- Enable the conditions through values, leadership and trust
- Talk to management about putting the new initiatives in place
- Start small and cost-free – for example by organising a daily stretch
- Become change-focused and passionate about encouraging a healthy workplace
- Develop a strategy, communicate the change and generate short-term wins
What are the benefits?
- Dedicated and loyal staff
- Increased productivity
- Employee satisfaction, engagement and development
- Better individual health, wellbeing and happiness
- Reduced health and safety care costs
- Improved overall performance
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Employee pride and a positive community reputation
- Higher job satisfaction
- Lower absences and staff turnover
The biggest challenge when implementing change is moving from the planning stage to the action stage. Engage management and ensure health becomes a shared responsibility. Many companies spend time on team building, employee engagement, training and company morale but employee health is an integral component and should not be forgotten.
Brittany Daniel, publishing executive
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