Employees are not machines. It’s inevitable that they’ll get sick and need rest every now and then. That’s why we have paid sick days and health benefits. But when employees frequently fall ill, then businesses have to deal with big problems such as absenteeism and loss of productivity. After all, how can a person be productive if they aren’t around in the first place?
Perhaps this is the reason why more and more companies are taking employee wellness seriously nowadays. Without productive employees, businesses take a hit — no cashiers to man the counters, no salespeople to close deals, no developers to make software, no teachers to handle classes, etc. Any company in any industry is affected by unhealthy employees. It’s a business risk for all employers, no exceptions.
Fortunately, there are many ways to promote employee wellness, one of which is a corporate culture that promotes work-life balance. Many companies choose to offer flexible hours and locations to their employees to give them more time for their personal lives. This is because people who have the opportunity to pursue interests and relationships outside their jobs are happier and healthier. Because they are less stressed and more contented, they achieve greater productivity and efficiency in the workplace, and they become more valuable employees and less of a business risk.
Another way to promote employee wellness is through the encouragement of exercise. It may seem counterproductive to ask employees to squeeze personal fitness into their already busy schedules, but according to a recent study by St. Leo University, exercise improves work-life balance by lowering stress. After a rigorous workout, the body releases endorphins which, in turn, produce a natural high. Thus, people who get regular exercise are not as stressed as their couch potato counterparts.
Also, exercise improves self-efficacy, or the strength of one’s ability to complete tasks they started. It’s easy to see the correlation: Exercise requires determination to start, let alone to finish. It only makes perfect sense for active people to develop a strong sense of discipline, an attitude that they bring to their jobs.
So yes, there’s a reason why people in exercise videos seem to be so happy. They may be acting, but they’re also feeling the good buzz that comes with completing a physical activity. It’s a feeling that lasts well after the workout and spills over into other aspects of life — including the workplace. Thus, fit employees are usually well employees who are important assets to your company.
The Employer’s Role
This doesn’t mean you have to hire only fit employees. But as an employer, you can encourage your employees to exercise. And if you’re already promoting work-life balance through flexible schedules, then you’re on the right track. When people have free time to spare, they can find a way to include regular workouts in their daily routine.
There are other things you can do to promote physical fitness on top of work-life balance. You can build a gym within the office, partner with a club to offer discounted memberships to employees, sponsor weekly team activities, invite fitness experts for consultation, etc. Yes, these will cost you money, but consider them as an investment — without the business risk. In the end, companies who take care of their employees gain a lot more than what they spent.
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