I was browsing through my LinkedIn feed the other day and an interesting thing popped out: apparently, we spend about 13 years and two months of our lives at work. Add overtime into the mix, and that is an additional year and two months.
That means as working people, both you and I spend a significant portion of our time in the workplace. When you really start to think about it, that piece of information alone is more than enough to give you a headache, isn’t it?
Not necessarily. Regardless if you’re working from the comfort of your home or in an office, if you’re in an environment that is as enjoyable and healthy as your home is (which I hope can be described as such), then work shouldn’t be that hard. That is why it is important to work in a place that promotes health and healthy habits. This post is intended for anyone who wants to and can make a change in their workplace. The math is clear on this one: good health habits equal healthy workers, and healthy workers equal good workplace and business performance.
Why your workplace should be a healthy one
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the workplace has a direct effect on the physical, mental, economic, and social well-being of employees. This, in turn, affects the health of families, communities, and society. Naturally, the health of employees is also influenced by other, non-work related factors but it’s important to note that there is a direct link between a workplace and one’s wellbeing.
As you might imagine, an increasing number of private and public organizations are starting to recognize that success in a globalizing marketplace cannot be achieved without a healthy, qualified, and motivated workforce. This has led to increasing popularity of the concept of the health-promoting workplace (HPW).
A good workplace health-promoting program should combine physical activity, nutrition, and mental wellness. These programs have already proven effective in a number of things: dramatically reducing stress, depression and chronic diseases, preventing obesity, minimizing back problems, improving sleeping patterns, cognitive performance, motivation, job satisfaction, skills, and a whole lot more.
On top of these individual benefits, they also help create, maintain and strengthen employee-employee and employee-employer relationships. In such an environment, employees can feel happier, more accepted, respected and taken care of – one big happy family.
Other positive effects for the company include increased productivity, a more dynamic and efficient working environment as workers are more incentivized to work more effectively, as well as an improved public and corporate image. And, to top it all off, such a program also increases the company’s visibility and attracts high-quality employees, giving a business a strategic advantage in the industry.
Quite a list, wouldn’t you say?
How can you achieve this goal?
There are plenty of ways in which a company can promote health in the workplace and encourage better employee health. I am by no means an expert on health-related issues (unless it involves my perpetually sick dog Puzzle – then I’m bonafide House MD) but I can tell you what we at M51 do and how that makes our surroundings a place where we want to be not just because we have to. We don’t have a proper HPW program but instead do lots of things that make up for it. You can call them our own little ways of being health-oriented.
First off, every week there is a yoga session, either in one of our common spaces or, if the weather permits it, on the rooftop of our office building, above all the commotion of busy Tel Aviv life. M51 people are getting increasingly interested in yoga and rightly so because it has lots of tangible benefits.
Our workplace is also animal-friendly, which means everyone is welcome (and invited to bring their pets at work). This mostly means dogs (I have yet to see a pet gecko on M51 premises) but the practice has proven to have a positive effect on everyone involved. And when I say everyone, I literally mean everyone.
One other thing that we do is enabling parking for electric scooters with available chargers. Why am I mentioning this? If you have any experience moving through a crowded city (which Tel Aviv is), you know the frustration of arriving on time anywhere, let alone to your workplace. This not only promotes and raises awareness about the idea of a green commute but puts me and my coworkers at ease because we don’t have to worry about parking or traffic jams.
Of course, no health-oriented goal on this scale goes without food as an important part of achieving it. That’s why every morning, our housekeeper (or officekeeper, more like it), besides tidying up the place, prepares for us a large tray with sliced fruit and vegetables. It’s something we all appreciate because we can snack healthy food while working and even make a full lunch out if at times. There’s something really refreshing about grabbing a piece of melon and watermelon, and an added bonus is that everyone who has a sweet tooth can enjoy a treat in the healthiest way possible.
That’s not all. We also have ‘Meatless Monday’ on a weekly basis that, at least once a week, places focus on a healthy meatless diet. It’s a nice way to get some plant-based diet during a busy working routine. Plus, food is a great bonding tool – everyone loves talking about it, especially if it’s something that you’re not accustomed to.
Healthy environment means a healthy business
That’s how we roll (both figuratively and literally) at M51. I hope this inspires you to take action and up the ante in ‘healthifying’ your working space. Mens sana in corpore sano – we try to stick by it. Do you?