It might seem like your employees’ physical and mental health are personal problems to be dealt with on their own time outside of work. That’s why we talk about work-life balance, right?

Not exactly. While you shouldn’t nose into your employees’ health habits, it would be naive to think that work doesn’t affect their physical and mental health, and vice versa. Almost half of Americans claim that their primary source of stress is their workload in the office.

With obesity statistics on the rise worldwide, you may want to rethink forcing your team to sit at a desk for 10+ hours a day, as well. Most of your employees probably spend more than one-third of their week in the office, so it likely has a significant effect on their mental and physical health.

Supporting mental and physical health initiatives at work can have far-reaching implications for your employees and your business. Here is why your team’s health should matter in your office.

1. Health initiatives can improve employee satisfaction

Have you ever wondered why companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook offer so many perks to their employees? On-site fitness programs, gym memberships, healthy snacks, and comfortable office spaces are just some of the ways these companies win over their employees and build loyalty for their companies.

You don’t have to be a tech unicorn to care about your employees’ health, though. Even small tweaks to your office dynamics can have a massive impact on physical health.

For example, you can invest in standing desks to help employees avoid chronic back pain and even early death. Health initiatives, no matter how small, show your team that you care about them; in return, they will reward you with higher productivity, loyalty, and energy.

2. Mental health always finds its way into the workplace

As much as we might try to separate our personal and professional lives, personal issues can often creep in and have effects at work. Mental health can often be the elephant in the room, as there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental wellness in many workplaces. However, anyone who has tried to work through a traumatic family event knows how vital mental health initiatives are for a productive workplace.

One of the first things you can do as a team leader is to create a culture of openness surrounding mental health issues. Encourage employees to share their experiences with their mental health by being open about your own struggles.

3. More flexibility = more productivity

Not everyone works at the same rhythm. Whether your employee has kids or works better at night, allowing flexible work hours – and spaces – can improve your team’s mood and productivity.

Instead of focusing on time spent in the office, consider how long you expect your employees to spend on tasks. If they could complete it faster than you think, why make them stick around to meet requirements? Allowing flexibility in work hours helps employees get more sleep, work more efficiently, and stay on top of issues in their personal lives without interrupting their work days.

If you see productivity and motivation lagging in your workplace, mental or physical health might be the culprit. Long hours in an office can take a toll, especially on your employees’ backs and stress levels, so focus on providing access to opportunities to move around, share with others, and even work outside the office. Your team’s health will inevitably affect their work, so prioritize health initiatives to create a happier and more productive workplace.

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