There is a growing trend towards healthy living. Sales of organic food are increasing among the under 35s, while the government is encouraging people to eat well and exercise more. As an employer the health of your staff might not be an immediate concern, but encouraging your employees to live healthier lifestyles could benefit your business.
A healthier workforce will take less sick days, meaning you will save money from having to pay for sick leave. Long-term sick leave alone is estimated to cost private companies £6.5 billion, while standard sick days are thought to cost the economy much more.
Small business owners often find it hard to compete for the most talented employees because they cannot afford to offer the same salaries as larger companies. However, a lot of top talent look for more than just a good wage from their employer, so if you can offer other benefits (such as corporate gym memberships) you have a greater chance of recruiting quality employees.
Studies show that those who eat healthily and exercise regularly tend to be happier and happy employees are good for your business. It is thought that a happier workforce is more creative, engaged and focused in short a happy much more productive than an unhappy one.
Regular exercise and good nutrition can help people to manage stress better, this is good news for employers as stress is a large cause of workers taking sick days. As well as this, a less stressed workforce will have better concentration levels and will overall be more productive.
Having a healthy lifestyle helps to increase energy levels, meaning that if your staff are eating well and being active they will have much more energy than those who don’t and often feel tired and sluggish. Furthermore, those who are healthy and active usually report having good sleeping patterns, meaning they feel more refreshed in the morning.
A healthy lifestyle can raise people’s self-esteem, which for your business means that if your workers are eating well and being active they are likely to be more confident and have a positive attitude. They will likely have more faith in their abilities and will meet difficult challenges and projects with a ‘can-do’ attitude.
Ways to encourage health and fitness
Although your employees will not thank you for judging them on their lifestyle choices (or even worse, dictating what they should and shouldn’t be doing), there are ways you can make it easier for those who want to be healthier and more active.
Flexibility – many people report lack of time for not taking part in regular exercise regimes. By offering your workers flexible working hours, they will be able to have more control over their free time. It will also give them the opportunity of joining gyms at off peak prices.
Healthy food – if you have an on-site canteen, consider making sure that there are healthy option available for staff who are trying to eat healthily.
Health schemes – consider offering a health care scheme for your employees – some of these will provide fitness benefits, such as a discount on gym memberships for your employees.
Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger with many years’ experience writing for business publications