In this day and age people are working longer hours, facing constant meetings and continuously burning the candle at both ends, causing huge levels of
In this day and age people are working longer hours, facing constant meetings and continuously burning the candle at both ends, causing huge levels of stress, overwhelm and poor choices in regards to food and exercise. This in turn has led to both an obesity and chronic disease epidemic that is crippling our society. Not only that, but from a business point of view this crisis is hugely damaging as well, as dwindling health is hindering performance and increasing absenteeism.
It can be argued though that in many ways employers are directly contributing to the problem. We spoke to Byron Morrison, Lifestyle and Weight Loss Coach at Tailored Lifestyles and author of Become a Better You about the 5 biggest mistakes employers make when it comes to health and how to resolve them!
1) Not encouraging breaks for fresh air
Employees spend all day cooped up at their desk, but there’s only so much time we can all spend before we lose focus and concentration. Encouraging employees to take a break every couple of hours to stretch their legs and get some fresh air could be exactly what they need to reduce stress, regain their energy and get some exercise.
Why not encourage walking meetings or anything else that promotes activity?
2) Office cake culture
It’s great that you want to reward employees for hard work by providing them with delicious treats, but this constant temptation is having a huge impact on our waistlines. That’s because when people are stressed, running low on energy or always facing temptation they are more likely to give in to battles with their willpower.
You could replace that office cake with fresh fruit or a salad bar?
3) Poor quality canteen food
When working long hours often the last thing employees want to do is spend time cooking or preparing lunch, causing them to resort to whatever is on hand or directly available. Often this is highly processed bulk cooked convenience meals, filled with processed fats and high in sugar.
While there’s nothing wrong with consuming these foods in moderation, issues arise when that’s what people are having for lunch each and every day.
As an alternative you could look at partnering with a fresh food delivery service?
4) Excessive meetings
There’s no denying meetings are important, but they can easily overrun and can be exhausting, stressful and mentally challenging. Before you look the whole day can have past, leaving employees in a state where they barely had time to breathe, let alone think about eating.
Try enforcing a rule where breaks are schedule to let employees get fresh air, make time for food and simply refocus their energy.
5) Not enforcing balance
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to our health problems, and stress levels are only going up as we demand more and more from our employees. This is made even worse when stereotypes are placed within organisations for what is expected, leading people to feel they have to work ridiculously long hours in order to be recognised for their hard work.
That’s why these stereotypes need to be broken, and instead an image of balance between family life and career needs to be implemented before people burn themselves out, or work takes its toll on their personal lives.
These are just a few changes employers can make to start improving the health of their employees, but we have reached a point where we need to start taking responsibility for helping them make more informed choices, without feeling like that doing so could put their career at risk.
At the end of the day we all want results, but a burnt-out employee struggling with stress, barely sleeping and with issues at home in the back of their mind is never going to perform optimally. So helping them get that balance really is a win-win all round, improving performance, retention and overall morale.
Feel free to share any other changes, thoughts or questions in the comments below.