You already know that your physical and mental health are important, but did you know they can also influence your productivity? Your health will impact your subjective quality of life, and possibly affect your lifespan—most people know this already—but it can also affect how you work and function on a day-to-day basis.
Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help you stay healthy and productive.
How Employers Can Support Better Health
If you’re an employer reading this article, you’ll want to improve the health of your employees in any way you can. Not only will this keep your employees feeling happier, more satisfied, and more secure, but it will also make them more productive.
These are just a few key strategies:
- Provide health benefits. If your business can afford it, provide some kind of health benefits to employees. That could mean offering employees a robust health insurance policy, or it could mean something simpler, like subsidizing gym memberships.
- Invest in workers’ compensation insurance. In many areas, workers’ compensation insurance is legally required. But even if it isn’t, your business should have workers’ compensation insurance in place. This will protect employees if they’re ever injured on the job.
- Be proactive in prioritizing employee health. It’s also important to maintain employee health as a top priority, and be proactive in responding to employee health matters. For example, if you see someone sick, send them home to recover.
The Benefits of Health for Productivity
Better health can influence your productivity in many different ways:
- Fewer sick days. Americans take an average of 4.4 sick days each year, with some outliers taking weeks of sick leave. That may not seem like a lot, but repeated sick days can sharply reduce the productivity of your team. If your employees are healthier, they’ll take fewer sick days, and you’ll have a greater percentage of employees at work at any given time.
- Better physical capabilities. Healthy employees are more physically capable, which is especially important in jobs that involve manual labor. They’ll be able to lift more, stay on their feet longer, and accomplish more tasks throughout the day.
- Feelings of wellness and energy. If you’ve ever felt the subjective differences between being sick and being healthy, you know that being healthy can grant you feelings of overall wellness and energy. Workers who feel more energized and better about themselves will naturally be inclined to do better work.
- Confidence and optimism. Being healthier, especially on a physical level, can make a person feel more confident in themselves, and feel more optimistic about life in general. This allows them to bring a good attitude to the workplace, and take pride in what they’re doing.
- Happiness and life satisfaction. It should be no surprise to learn that healthy people tend to be happier and more satisfied with life. When employees are in a better place, physically and mentally, they’ll carry that happiness into all areas of their life. That means they’ll feel better about their job and status, they’ll have better relationships, and of course, they’ll be able to perform better too.
- Communal benefits. Of course, there are also communal benefits to enjoy from healthier employees. Fewer sick people at work means the illness will be less likely to spread to other people. And people practicing good habits, like eating healthy and exercising at lunch, can be contagious.
Easy Ways to Improve Health
If you’re interested in improving health directly, whether it’s your own health or the health of your employees, these are the most important steps:
- Make better eating choices. Much of our health is derived from the types and quantities of food we eat. For many of us, eating smaller portions is an ideal way to stave off obesity and the health complications related to it. Otherwise, try to eat more fruits and vegetables, and stay away from sugary and processed foods.
- Exercise daily. Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It can help you stay in good physical shape, lower your susceptibility to a host of illnesses, and help you feel better mentally as well. Try to exercise on a daily basis.
- Practice preventative care. Finally, invest in preventative care. Using ergonomic furniture, occasionally visiting your primary care physician, and taking action on health problems early can all reduce your vulnerabilities to health issues.
Better health is strongly correlated with higher productivity, and it’s easy to see why. When employees are healthier, both in body and in mind, they’re able to focus on their work and do a better job. Keep health as a top priority, whether you’re managing a team of workers or are just trying to do your best work in your own position.