A study called The Science of Happiness, conducted by Globoforce, states that happy employees are 85% more efficient, have a 60% drop in absenteeism and stay in their current job twice as long as their less happy colleagues. So what’s the secret to being happier in the office and where do we sign up?
The secret to a happier office life
According to the World Economic Forum, “Employees are eight times more likely to be engaged when wellness is a priority in the workplace.”
8 times! That’s a huge amount of engagement. Could it be possible that the secret to happier, more engaged employees is as simple as prioritising wellness?
It's true. Workers are less likely to be sick and are much happier when they live a healthy lifestyle, which makes working with them a pleasure. Making wellness a priority in the workplace can be incredibly rewarding for employers too and is measurable by engagement, retention, safety, wellness and a sense of community, according to The Science of Happiness study.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather walk into an office full of smiling faces instead of frowning ones? We spend an incredible amount of time working. In fact, we spend majourity of our days in the office. The least that could be done is make our office environment a healthy, happy one. And the formula is simple, show your colleagues/staff that you care about them, beyond what they contribute to the company, and they’ll be much happier.
Here are some reasons why wellness should be prioritised in the workplace. Healthier, happier employees are:
- Sick less
- More focused and productive
- Business boosters
- Satisfied with their job
- More passionate about their work
- Less stressed
- Likely to interact and create friendships in the office
Ways to create a happier, healthy company culture
Let’s face it, we’ve all been inspired by Google’s nap pods, massage rooms and onsite doctors. You might have even dreamed of working for them at some point! And although many companies can’t afford to take such extreme measures, many are jumping on the bandwagon.
You can start small by trying something new in the office and make some changes that your colleagues will hopefully get excited about. Here are some simple ways you can start making a happier, healthier office environment:
Start an exercise group
Whether it’s a soccer team, running club or a weekly yoga class, starting an exercise group will bring colleagues closer and help release endorphins. This feel-good effect can go a long way.
Team building outing
Getting the team together to do a fun activity will stimulate peer interaction and encourage everyone to bond and socialize outside of 'business mode'.
Switch to standing desks in the office, or get one for yourself. You could also start smaller by getting a standing meeting table. Standing the the office has multiple health benefits. (You can read more about why standing meetings are beneficial, here)
Encourage walk breaks
Getting out of the office for a walk break at least once a day improves concentration and provides a good source of vitamin D – something that most offices lack.
Provide bicycle racks
By providing racks, it gives your colleagues/staff the option to cycle to work and encourages an active, healthy lifestyle.
Provide information on health
Posters and pamphlets can be used to spread healthy information around the office such as how to reduce stress, desk stretching routines and healthy eating. This encourages people to think about their current working lifestyle and reminds them to change aspects of their lifestyle that might be lacking.
Implement healthy food choices
In an office environment, we often get caught up in so much work that we tend to grab whatever food we can 'on-the-go'. These are not always the healthiest options. Get involved in organising healthy food options, where it's at the work cafeteria or the vending machine.
Provide drinking water
Drinking loads of water in the office is important for overall health. Have water fountains or coolers installed to make sure colleagues are drinking enough water throughout the day. (Cape Town, you may want to hold out on this one until our water crisis is over)
Implement flexi hours
Flexi hour working promotes a work-life balance and will allow employees to manage their own time. This doesn't work for all companies but it's important to note that it could also lessen someone's travel time from traffic, and give them more time at home to spend with their loved ones.
Once a company supports a healthy, happy culture, everyone wants to be a part of the company and your company can compete for talent. What's more is that if there is an increased amount of happy workers in the office, there is an increased amount of endorphins that are released. This means that everyone will be nicer and happier to each other, clients and their own family.
Be a proactive leader in your workforce and start having these conversations with people around the office. A great company culture is not always just about the financial perks, people really do care about the culture perks, and in return, they'll give back all they can into the business.