Promoting employee health, but how? – Employee health is important. That’s for sure, but exceedingly few take enough care of it. Work losses due to sickness cause high costs – in fact not a little. Moreover, if sick employees stay at home, in many cases it is expected that they still work from home. Obviously, working during sickness is not beneficial for recovery. In the end, there are more costs due to a longer recovery progress.
The employee health is a sensitive issue. What can employers do to strengthen employee health and to reduce work losses due to sickness? We want to find a way to handle this issue.
What Exactly Is Employee Health?
Employee health includes the physical and mental state of an employee. This involves diseases but also the mental wellbeing of all employees.
Both, the physical and mental health, influence each other. A bad physical state can cause a bad mental state and vice versa.
Sick Employees Cause Costs
In the end, sick employees cause high costs. Employers therefore should try to reduce work losses due to sickness. The question is: What is the origin of poor health and how can the employees’ wellbeing be supported?
Everyone knows that smoking and bad eating habits can damage health. This is an issue that gives employers a starting point. Their approach is: Annual check-ups and flu vaccinations for all employees. However, is this enough?
What Can Employers Actually Do?
The aim is to have happy and healthy employees. In bigger companies, the support of employee health is part of the Compensation & Benefits Management, whereas in smaller companies the HR department has to take care of the wellbeing of all employees. Here are some ideas, how the HR can support the employee health:
1. Health Programs
Employees can, as an example, learn better eating habits in so called health programs. They get to know a more healthy lifestyle which has also a great impact on their productivity. However, those programs rarely have a long term effect. Moreover, the adjustments only show success in the long run.
2. Holiday Time
Sufficient holiday time and therefore a break from work is very important for the employees’ wellbeing. A high number of holidays is moreover a benefit which employees appreciate in particular.
An intermediate distance to work can help to reduce stress as well as the risk of burnout. It is also important that employees use their holidays. Thus, employers have to ensure that employees take their freetime.
Moreover, the management itself should take enough freetime. By doing so, the management sets an example and shows the employees, how important a break is and that they can take it without any bad feelings.
3. Physical Health
The first step towards greater wellbeing in the office is the offer of a free flu vaccination. Preventive health practices reduce costs and support the common good. There are many preventive practices to consider.
If employees suffer from chronic disease, they should be allowed to see their doctor each time they need to. This is the only way to get the disease under control and to strengthen the wellbeing of these employees. Therefore, it is important to support regular appointments.
4. Health Care
Stress can lead to depression and burnout. Do the employees have enough tools to facilitate their work? Is their workload in a good scope? Are managers trained enough to support the employees the best way possible?
As long as the management isn’t able to create a good working atmosphere, the stress level will rise. Moreover, if employees are harassed by managers, they are less productive and tend to leave the company. So, there is a need for well trained management to build a healthy work environment.
5. Employee Consultancy
Employees not only have stress at work. They also have private issues which affect their wellbeing at work as well. By providing a consultancy for employees, they can talk about their concerns and problems and search for solutions. Thereby, the stress level can be reduced.
Conclusion: A Healthy Working Atmosphere Is Essential
In the matter of employee health, the focus lies on a healthy working atmosphere. A good working atmosphere can achieve more than any health program. Therefore, it is especially important to concentrate on the things that reduce the employees’ stress. In the end, the employee health is worth it!