9 ideas to foster health and productivity in the workplace

Kay Banzon
de-stressing at the workplace

Because happy employees are productive employees

Employee wellbeing plays a growing role in ensuring productivity in the workplace. Recent studies in the UK, for example, cite how workplace stress affects health, and how issues arising from occupational stress result in productivity losses. Stress is likewise cited as the leading cause of absenteeism from work in a recent Asia Pacific study by Willis Towers Watson.

This means that managers and leaders need to take initiative in ensuring team members are well taken care of, in terms of working environment. Each organisation has unique needs and cultures, and this results in different approaches to managing the workflow and motivating employees toward better productivity. Even so, every organisation can adopt certain practices that can help boost the team morale to a great extent and motivate everyone to achieve greater heights together.

These 9 tips can be easily implemented across your team without affecting your work schedule. And even if it does affect the schedule somehow, you will eventually observe enhanced team collaboration and improved productivity, which will more than compensate for the effort.

1. Yoga

Hold regular yoga sessions, and practice them together every day. You will need to have a common area for such activities. Or, you can rearrange or repurpose other areas, such as the conference room!

Yoga is a great stress-buster, and it improves blood circulation. It is a great way to relax as well as strengthen the body muscles. The benefits of Yoga are multi-fold from medical to cosmetic. Group sessions encourage teamwork and motivate the members to practice together regularly.

Regular practice of Yoga can combat many lifestyle diseases like hypertension, increase metabolism, reduce excess fat in your body and make you generally more flexible. Aside from helping boost overall confidence and health, Yoga can also help improve productivity.

2. Meditation

Meditation helps increase concentration and is also a great stress-buster. By helping you detoxify and clear your mind of all unnecessary stress, meditation helps improve your thought process and helps in finding innovative solutions to pressing problems.

Also Read: 50 productivity tools for startup founders and entrepreneurs

Meditation helps you empty your mind from all disturbing thoughts and lets new ideas get into your mind. You do not need a particular ambiance to meditate. You can just close your eyes and meditate right where you are to get refreshed. Teach your team to meditate and encourage them to de-stress. This helps people find new perspectives and approaches in problem-solving.

3. Exercise

Establish a small gym in the premises, and encourage your team to work out on their own or as a group. Exercise is a great way to de-stress, and it gets your body in a healthy state. Apart from helping you sweat out some calories, exercise helps improve blood circulation to your brain, which can be helpful in improving focus.

If space and resources do not permit setting up of your own gym, you can sign up your team for memberships with a local gym. Or, you can bike, hike or run as a group.

4. Food

Hold potluck parties in the office every month, and let the team members cook and bring their own contributions. This is a great way to forget about work once in a while and enjoy the simple pleasures of life like good food and the company of people.

Cooking can be a great way to release stress. Sharing and eating together can be a good bonding activity, which can help foster good working relationships. Home-cooked food is also a healthier and cheaper option than hotel fare, and hence it keeps a check on the budgets and wellbeing of employees.

5. Group outings

Take the team out often. This helps melt the ice, and your employees can feel more comfortable bonding with each other outside of the usual office setup. This is usually most effective when you use such outings as an incentive for achieving team goals and milestones. Ask your employees to actively participate in deciding where to go and what to do, so they can feel their importance as part of the team.

6. Open forum

Establish open communication lines on anything and everything. This can be through digital means (digital forums or posts on the intranet), or through regular stand-up meetings. This can help boost people’s confidence, and your team members will start becoming more vocal about their inputs and opinions. This will help them communicate their thoughts and opinions about work-related matters, too.

Also Read: 10 productivity boosting tools for startup founders

7. Measurable achievements

Set measurable targets for the organization and individual members, and review them on a regular basis. Encourage everyone to help each other in achieving these targets. This can be done in a gamified environment, which can make reaching achievements even more exciting.

The important thing is to establish that it’s teamwork that matters and not individual achievers. Let only the positives reflect in the appraisals. This will motivate the team members to help everyone else, and the team’s overall productivity will surge.

8. Reduced limitations

Have fewer rules so that the team gets the space to move around and think out of the box. An excessive number of dos and don’ts might only result in confusion, and people might become more defensive rather than proactive. You don’t have to let go of rules altogether. Rather, establish a general set of guidelines that are in sync with your company’s broader goals. It definitely keeps the stress levels low and encourages people to become more involved and proactive in their work.

Many of Google’s best products came about as part of its 20 per cent rule, for example—they allowed employees to work on their personal projects on company time.

9. Involve family

Encourage team outings with families once in a while. Everyone needs quality time with their loved ones. When an organisation involves the entire family, it helps improve the team dynamics, particularly when people get to know each other better.

Also Read: 9 things startup founders wish their employees would start doing more of tomorrow

Team members’ families also get to familiarize themselves with the people they work with—it also helps reduce stress at home. It also encourages the team members to address some personal issues potentially affecting their productivity, such as domestic or childcare issues. This way, the organization can help find a good solution that addresses everyone’s needs.

Conclusion

These are just some of the basic and straightforward ways you can help improve the mental, emotional and physical well-being within your organisation. Remember, happy employees are productive employees. And any productivity improvement will inevitably lead to a better bottom-line.

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