For businesses to thrive, their employees must also thrive. This is true in terms of both productivity and health. In 2021-2022 in the UK, a vast 1.8 million people suffered from a work-related illness — a total of 36.8 million days of work lost. By prioritising healthy work habits, businesses can significantly increase productivity and reduce these costly absences.
Healthy work habits and productivity
The link between health and productivity at work is clear: employees who maintain healthy habits are better able to focus and produce quality work. This includes sleeping enough each night, eating the right types of food, exercising regularly and taking regular breaks.
Some of the world’s biggest businesses already understand this well. Google offers its employees several perks, including everything from fitness and cooking classes to childcare and caregiver leave. Combining these types of perks with other factors, such as flexible working schedules is a great way to increase staff morale and productivity.
Conversely, unhealthy work habits can be incredibly costly for any organisation. Absenteeism due to illness costs companies significant amounts of money every year, and lack of concentration or neglecting safety policies can have dire consequences. This can lead to hazardous conditions which can put workers’ lives at risk.
The role of management
For employees to develop the right habits, it must start with management. A good manager can set an example of healthy living, provide resources to help workers make healthier decisions and create an environment that actively values employee wellbeing.
Managers should lead by example. It might be difficult to show your employees that you’re getting enough sleep each night, but they will definitely notice if you’re taking regular breaks throughout the day. It’s also important for managers to make resources available so employees can access them easily. This could include health-related books and articles, or even free or discounted memberships to gyms or fitness clubs.
Management can also facilitate healthier work environments by conducting regular check-ins, providing resources such as workplace drug testing kits and fostering open communication about health concerns. Management should also be aware of any signs of burnout or illness among their team. Addressing these issues sends a message that both mental and physical wellbeing are taken seriously.
Key healthy work habits
Earlier we briefly mentioned some key healthy habits: sleep, diet, exercise and regular breaks. Sleep is incredibly important because it supports cognitive functions such as problem-solving and decision-making. People who are sleep-deprived are also more likely to suffer from and cause workplace accidents.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are non-negotiable. The benefits are endless. Workers who make these two things a habit will experience improved energy, lower stress levels and fewer mid-day slumps. Regular breaks are also important. They help to prevent burnout, maintain focus and offer an opportunity for both the mind and body to rest and rejuvenate.
There are many positives for businesses who encourage healthy work habits. They will have a culture that is pro-employee, resulting in better employee wellbeing, which will ultimately lead to improved productivity and better business outcomes.