Q: Should employers be doing more to help improve the health of their staff?
James Colquhoun - Food Matters
For sure. As a business our core mission is to inspire people to live their healthiest life possible so ensuring our team is happy and healthy is incredibly important to us. Stress is always going to be a constant, whether it’s personal or work related, so providing the space, communication channels and support to ensure everyone brings their best to work is paramount. We’re often practicing yoga as a group, bringing in a chiropractor for the day or gifting spa vouchers to the team after a big project. By introducing these rewarding activities and helping to decrease stressors, employee morale increases, employee work-life balance is improved, and in turn, the business reaps the rewards of happy and healthy staff.
Alan Thompson - Flaxton Gardens
It is and has always been my personal belief that a business is only as strong as its staff’s physical and mental health. So, yes, I do believe as employers it is our duty of care to encourage our staff to look after their health (mentally and physically). Having employed what feels like thousands of staff in different countries, age demographics as well as skill bases, I have seen how mental health can affect employers’ performance. It is my strongest belief that mind, body and soul all need to be balanced. Our minds need to be passionate about what one is trying to achieve at any given time. This helps to build a desire to keep one’s body performance managed and maintained. With mind passionate and body sustained then the soul can dare to believe in something greater than one’s self!
Anna Dann - Fresh Holistic Health
We spend so much of our life in our workplaces, therefore it is imperative that the work environment is conducive to health and wellbeing. Historically, most workplaces have not focused on the wellbeing of their staff and workplace. Healthy workplaces promote healthy employees, improved productivity and higher staff retention rates. Employees in the caring profession are often remiss in self-care. Caring for their physical and mental wellbeing is our top priority. We encourage a healthy work/life balance with flexible work days and hours, facilitate social interactions in our community kitchen where we share meals, ideas and feel connected. Our Staff Wellness Program includes free yoga and pilates classes for all employees and practitioners at our onsite studio and we also work with local businesses to provide them with their own staff wellness programs.
Laura Klein - snottynoses.com.au
Absolutely, healthy workers are happy, loyal and more efficient workers, so it makes good business sense to optimise the wellbeing of your staff. On a personal note, it gives the business owner a greater sense of fulfillment when they take the time to optimise both the physical and mental health of their staff. Look at the way Google headquarters in the US has transformed the way we think about wellbeing at work! Massages, healthy snacks and basketball hoops – that’s innovation! Our office is only small, but it’s an airy, colourful space filled with natural light. We have awesome music playing – sometimes chill, sometimes disco ‘90s, and we have our gorgeous Aroma Bloom vaporiser dispersing healing essential oils, to purify the air around us. Taking a moment to make a cup of organic chai infusion tea is also a daily ritual. Having a staff of mums, it’s important to understand there will be times when they need time off with their sick kids. It’s give and take, and I’m proud of the work culture we’ve built.
Suzie Morris - The Source Bulk Foods Caloundra
In short, yes! Caring for our staff both physically and mentally is a priority for us. We believe a healthy employee creates a great work/life balance for them and a happier employee for us. Our store offers many options for maintaining and improving health, so we encourage our staff to use our products and pass on relevant information to our customers from their own personal experiences. Encouraging our staff to stay fit and healthy also produces benefits for us, with statistics showing that when employees are healthy, there is greater productivity, more employee engagement, high staff morale and better performance in the business overall. Motivating staff to stay happy and healthy gives them support too, so we are only too happy for them to take control of their health.
Dr Karen Gebusion - MD Cosmetic and Skin Clinic
As a GP, I have witnessed increasing physical, mental and emotional work-related health issues. Staff health and preventative strategies are not often a high priority, with emphasis on employee performance/productivity, and little support in place. Overworked, stressed and sick employees are associated with higher absenteeism and staff turnover and less productivity. Focusing on improving health and wellbeing results in happier, healthier staff. Physical health can be improved by providing wellness access such as gym memberships or discounts, ergonomic work equipment; supply kitchens with healthy snacks and encourage short breaks during the day; for mental/emotional health, considering asking for guidance and collaborate on mutually beneficial strategies to maintain a harmonious environment; provide quiet space for a mental break; and allow for schedule flexibility and possible unpaid leave for life events. Provide extra training and education to improve performance in roles.