How to encourage healthy habits when your staff return to the office

341

As people who have either been furloughed or working from home begin the transition of returning to the physical office, employee health, safety and wellbeing has never been so important. It's a delicate time for all involved, and workplaces look different now, so employees will need time to reacclimate to working back in the office. As an employer, you are instrumental in helping your team return safely to work. But you also play a vital role in encouraging your staff to look after their health and wellbeing by giving them the tools and support they need.

Here are five simple ways you can encourage healthy habits among your staff when they return.

1. Create a healthy workplace

To ensure a safe and healthy workplace, the office must be cleaned more often, especially surfaces and communal areas, and the workspace kept well ventilated. Don't be afraid to remind staff and visitors to wash their hands and use sanitiser regularly. You can also make social-distancing easier for everyone by introducing a one-way system, separating workspaces, reducing face-to-face meetings and crowding in lifts. If a staff member shows any coronavirus symptoms or even just a cough or cold, send them home. While they may not have anything serious, it helps keep the work environment as healthy as possible while also encouraging them to rest and recuperate.

2. Help employees stay hydrated

A person needs to drink between six and eight glasses of water a day to keep them hydrated, active and productive. Dehydration can cause tiredness, nausea and difficulty concentration. Severe dehydration can even cause long-term health problems, such as kidney damage. You can encourage your staff to drink more water by providing reusable individual water bottles for your staff to make it easier for them to drink more water, without sharing communal cups. You can also give branded water bottles from Igo Promo to clients, suppliers and visitors to encourage them to stay hydrated while at the same time promoting your company brand.

3. Support mental health

We all have a lot on our minds right now. But being stressed, especially for long periods, can impact physical as well as mental health. Keep an eye out for signs of stress within your team and lead by example by sticking to regular working hours and taking breaks away from your desk during the day. You can also consider helping your workers achieve a better work-life balance by offering flexible working or the opportunity to work from home part-time. Providing your workers with access to a confidential counselling service is another great way to improve mental health.

4. Promote physical activity

Physical inactivity is one of the top causes of ill health, which can negatively impact a person's working life. With office workers sometimes sitting for more than seven hours a day at their desk, around a third of adults don't get enough exercise which is bad for business and productivity. You can make it easier for your workers to get active every day by promote walk-to-work or cycle schemes and provide lockers, changing and bike storage facilities. You can also organise lunchtime walking or running clubs. Even just regularly reminding staff of the importance of getting up and walking around the office will boost their activity levels.

5. Help employees eat well

When it's a busy day at the office, a fast-food lunch or a quick calorific snack is often the easiest choice for many people. Employers can play a key role in encouraging staff to eat more healthily by giving them better access to healthier food and drink options. Think about whether you could provide free fruit at work or consider subsidising the cost of more nutritious choices in the canteen or vending machine.

We spend one-third of our lives at work, so employers must play an active role in supporting their employees' health and wellbeing. Not only will this benefit your staff, this will benefit your business too.