Cultivating Employee Wellbeing: Physical Health as a Strategic Imperative for Business Success

by | Jan 23, 2024

In the context of modern business growth and development, the following adage holds profound significance for employee health and wellbeing:

If you do not make time for your wellbeing, you will be forced to make time for your illness.

Recent statistics reveal that over 30% of individuals in the UK grapple with long-term physical health issues. This alarming figure underscores the urgency for businesses to take proactive measures to support their employees in maintaining optimal physical health. Beyond the direct impact on individuals, unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the potential development of health issues, further emphasising the need for preventative strategies in the workplace.

The impact of poor physical health on the quality of an individual’s life is evident, and the impact of poor employee health on absenteeism and productivity is likewise undeniable. In this blog post, we will explore the need for organisations to prioritise employee physical wellbeing and provide actionable tips to create a workplace that fosters a culture of health and vitality.

Taking a strategic approach to supporting employee health

As a leader in your organisation, it is essential to consider how you can fortify the physical wellbeing of your workforce. 

Implementing processes, procedures, and incentives can empower your employees to prioritise their health, ensuring a team that not only performs at their best but also remains resilient in the face of challenges.

The following are the first stages of taking a strategic approach to improving physical health and wellbeing in the workplace:

  1. Assessment and analysis:
    • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current physical health and wellbeing status among employees.
    • Analyse existing workplace practices, policies, and facilities that impact physical health.
  2. Leadership commitment:
    • Secure commitment from leadership to prioritise and support employee physical health and wellbeing.
    • Communicate the importance of creating a culture that values and promotes physical health.
  3. Employee engagement:
    • Gather feedback from employees through surveys, focus groups, or wellness committees to understand their needs and preferences.
    • Foster a sense of ownership and participation among employees in shaping the physical health and wellbeing initiatives.

Email us to discuss a full list of steps and strategy for improving workplace health and wellbeing tailored to your company. 

5 tips to improve physical wellbeing in the workplace

As we’ve explored the overarching need for a strategic approach to workplace wellbeing, we now turn our focus back to the specific realm of physical health. 

Recognising the impact of a healthy workforce on organisational resilience and performance, the upcoming five tips are tailored to enhance physical wellbeing in the workplace. 

From optimising workspaces to encouraging healthy eating habits and incorporating fitness initiatives, these actionable insights aim to foster a culture that values and prioritises the physical health of every team member:

  1. Nutritional health training:
    • Provide your employees with training on nutritional health to empower them with the knowledge needed to make informed dietary choices. A well-nourished workforce is better equipped to tackle daily challenges.

Nutritional health training equips employees with the knowledge and tools to make informed dietary choices, directly impacting both physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Improved overall health: education on nutrition promotes a well-balanced diet, supporting physical health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Increased energy and productivity: proper nutrition fuels the body and brain, enhancing energy levels and cognitive function, leading to increased productivity.
  • Enhanced mood and wellbeing: a well-nourished body positively influences mental health, contributing to improved mood and overall wellbeing.
  1. Encourage exercise and movement:
    • Offer gym memberships or explore online fitness classes:
    • Invest in standing desks to promote a more active work environment:
    • Introduce gamification to incentivise physical activity, such as step challenges with awards for top performers:
    • Encourage and role model standing or walking during phone calls to incorporate movement into the workday.

Promoting exercise and movement in the workplace underscores the importance of an active lifestyle for both physical and mental health.

  • Physical fitness: regular exercise contributes to cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility, promoting overall physical fitness.
  • Stress reduction: physical activity is a natural stress reliever, releasing endorphins that elevate mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Team building: group exercise activities or challenges foster camaraderie, strengthening interpersonal relationships and team cohesion.
  1. Optimise workspaces for health:
    • Provide secondary work surfaces for tasks like reading and writing, enabling employees to perform these activities while standing.
    • Foster a culture of taking breaks away from the desk, promoting healthier habits during lunchtime.

Optimising workspaces for health emphasises the physical environment’s role in supporting employee wellbeing. It addresses ergonomics and encourages practices that mitigate the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

  • Prevention of musculoskeletal issues: ergonomic adjustments minimise the risk of discomfort and musculoskeletal problems, enhancing physical health.
  • Variety in work positions: secondary work surfaces promote task variety, allowing employees to alternate between sitting and standing, reducing fatigue and promoting better posture.
  • Cultivation of a health-conscious environment: a workspace designed for health sends a powerful message about the organisation’s commitment to employee wellbeing.
  1. Healthy food options:
    • Offer healthy food and snack options in the workplace.
    • Provide access to food vouchers to encourage nutritious choices.
    • Encourage employees to step away from their desks during lunch to create a mindful eating environment.

Offering healthy food options demonstrates a commitment to supporting employees in making nutritious choices, contributing to both physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Improved energy levels: nutrient-dense foods fuel employees with sustained energy, preventing energy crashes associated with sugary snacks.
  • Support for overall health: a balanced diet supports immune function, reducing the likelihood of illness and absenteeism.
  • Cultivation of healthy eating habits: providing healthy options contributes to the establishment of positive, long-term dietary habits among employees.
  1. Integrate stretching into meetings:
    • Incorporate brief stretching sessions into meetings to promote flexibility and reduce sedentary behaviour.
    • Reinforce the importance of short breaks during extended meetings to maintain focus and energy levels.

Integrating stretching into meetings promotes physical activity and flexibility, addressing the sedentary nature of prolonged meeting sessions.

  • Reduced sedentary behaviour: stretching sessions break up periods of prolonged sitting, reducing the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Enhanced focus and engagement: brief stretches contribute to increased blood flow, improving alertness and engagement during meetings.
  • Team bonding: participating in stretching activities fosters a sense of unity and shared experience among meeting attendees.

Prioritising employee physical wellbeing is not just a moral imperative; 

It’s a strategic necessity for organisations aiming for sustained success. By investing in the health of your workforce, you not only enhance individual lives but also cultivate a workplace culture that fosters resilience, creativity, and high-quality results. 

Take the initiative to build a healthier, more productive future for your team and your business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more information on supporting employee physical health or improving workplace wellbeing. 

Stay informed to unlock the benefits of improved workplace wellbeing.