At this time of year, many of us are keen to get back on the right track after plenty of indulgence over the Christmas period. The selection boxes are empty, plenty of fruit and vegetables are back on the shopping list and 'Dryathlons' have sprung up everywhere.

It's fair to say that you’ve probably already considered your own health and fitness, but have you thought about your employees? If you want your team to be firing on all cylinders, then it makes sense to consider how you’re enabling them to live a healthier and more balanced life. When it comes down to it, encouraging your staff to take care of themselves can have many business benefits. If you want a productive and present workforce, there are several things that you can do.

Here, we explore your options:

1. Rethink Workplace Traditions

Everyone deserves a little bit of cake on their birthday. Annual treats are unlikely to do anyone any harm. But when your workplace traditions include fried breakfasts on Monday mornings, pizza during Wednesday meetings, and beers on Friday evenings, the impact can quickly mount up.

Rather than taking away existing provisions, think about how you could put a more positive spin on them. Could you encourage staff to bring in their own healthy bakes? Could you reward completed projects with fresh fruit platters? Could you liaise with local juice providers to supply energy-boosting pick-me-ups during busier periods? Creating new traditions could be just what your employees need.

2. Get People Moving

It could be argued that sitting behind a desk all day is a pretty unnatural state for a human being. Of course though, operational constraints often mean that to a certain extent, you’re stuck with more sedentary ways of working. Small changes can make a huge difference, so don’t overlook them.

Encourage staff to walk to their colleagues’ workstations instead of sending emails. Rather than conducting sit-down reviews, go for a stroll outside. Too often, it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting stuck with existing routines, when alternatives are simple, low cost, and highly effective. When’s the last time you considered doing things a little differently?

3. Create A Friendly Sense Of Competition

People often love a challenge at this time of the year. You can use this to your advantage and encourage good behaviours whilst also encouraging individuals to collaborate towards a goal. You could divide your workforce into teams, and set a milestone, with a reward for whichever group gets there first. It could be miles walked, pounds lost, or something entirely different. Think about the common goals of your staff, and how you can incorporate that.

It should go without saying, but you do need to exercise a degree of common sense here, and do all you can to ensure that you aren’t discriminating against any of your staff. Think about how disabled people may be able to get involved, and don’t make participation obligatory.

4. Protect Them From Stress & Burnout

An overloaded workforce can soon buckle under pressure if steps aren't taken in advance. Whilst you might not be able to do anything about their workload, you can try to alter how they feel about it.

Encourage the team to take small breaks throughout the day to refresh their minds and keep them energised. You might need to actually diarise these to start with. And make sure it's not encouraged for employees to work past 6pm - everyone needs a proper evening to relax and unwind in order to be on form the next day. When trying to introduce new cultural norms remember it has to start with the team at the top - so you must be seen to be walking the walk too.

5. Consider Safeguarding Their Financial Wellbeing 

Money worries can significantly add to employees' overall stress levels. And working hard day in day out with your personal finances in a mess can be hugely stressful as well as demoralising. So there's an argument to say that their is a legitimate role for employers to safeguard the financial wellbeing of their teams too.

As well as ensuring employees' pay goes up along with inflation every year, you could also offer them a session with a financial advisor (in confidence) to make sure everything is in good order. So that when they are at work, they feel more motivated as they are genuinely working towards a stronger financial footing for themselves and any dependents.

At first thought, you may think that the health and wellbeing of your employees isn’t really your responsibility. This isn’t the case though. With workers spending more and more time in the office, many would consider it a moral responsibility for businesses to ensure that some kind of balance is achieved. And the business benefits can be plentiful when you get it right....

For advice on support on employee wellbeing or any other HR issue, contact theHRhub now for a no strings chat. Call 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk.

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