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How you can improve your employees' health

Today there is much greater demand for a clear wellness culture than in the past, and this is a prerequisite for attracting new talent and caring for existing employees’ health. How do you, as an employer, stand out in the job market, and what can you do to keep your employees healthy at work?

Velferd i arbeidet | Coor

1. Physical heath

Most employers already know the importance of investing in employees’ health to ensure good work performance. But fewer may be aware that an investment in employees’ physical health is an investment in the future. In Sweden alone, health problems caused society a loss of SEK 62 billion in 2018, and the future outlook is uncertain. Companies can counteract this trend by investing in health-related activities, giving opportunities for exercise during the lunch break, offering ergonomic tools or introducing treadmills or exercise bikes in the workplace.

2. Mental health

Long-term sick leave has increased fivefold in the past five years in Sweden alone. This spells a big risk for your employees in terms of stress. In this context it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all, so offering a variety of solutions is a key to healthy and balanced individuals. Perhaps VR meditation can contribute to improved wellbeing and a balanced environment. It’s even possible that a greater integration of work and private life can benefit employees if work can help relieve private stress factors. What if you could have your car serviced in the car park at your workplace, have private parcels delivered to the reception or buy takeaway dinners from the canteen?

3. Social health

This year, the market research firm YouGov conducted a survey to find out what aspects people find most important in the workplace. 66 percent of respondents said that good colleagues was the aspect they valued most highly, closely followed by feeling that their work makes a difference to society/contributes to a better world. It is important for companies to be able to give their employees a common vision and show that they take responsibility for being an attractive employer. But it is also important to give employees opportunities for development. Has your company formulated a set of values? Do you clearly communicate them externally? And above all, have you communicated them to your employees, and how do you apply them in the daily work?

4. Environmental health

When addressing occupational health, focus is still primarily placed on
physical heath. It’s easier to work with something tangible like the body than with the mind and emotions, which are more abstract. However, one aspect that is often missed, and which is clearly linked to physical and mental wellbeing, is the environments we spend time in. Today we’re seeing countless innovations, such as greenhouse walls, which improve air quality and help people perform better because having natural elements around us improves our wellbeing. Other solutions might include lighting design that stimulates our senses, air purification systems that help control viruses, and having green areas near the workplace where employees can easily take a break. Take some time to consider the situation at your workplace and what you can do to improve your employees’ environment.

5. Management engagement

We know today that a lack of structure is one of the foremost causes of long-term sick leave. This is because employees start over-performing when they lack a framework, which makes them deliver above expectations without getting any praise or feedback. In this context, managers and supervisors play the most important part in defining clear roles, assigning clear tasks and praising work well done. How do you shape your organizational structure and culture, and how do you communicate expectations to employees? Are you sensitive to their health needs, or do you sometimes forget to stop and listen? It’s crucial for the company’s management to encourage a climate where health issues are actively discussed – and this needs to be high on the management’s agenda.

Guide Wellness - Why we need to talk about occupational health

Today’s negative occupational health trend no longer only concerns individuals – it concerns the whole of society. Could the problem be solved by making permanent changes in workplace habits?