For employers, there are business advantages that can come with creating a safe, healthy and inclusive work environment for everyone.
For example, a healthy work environment can reduce the risk of workplace illnesses and injuries that can cause your worker’s compensation insurance costs to go up. When your employees feel supported, they’re more likely to be loyal to the business, reducing turnover.
A positive work environment, in turn, contributes to positive company culture. That creates a good employer brand, and it’s going to attract top talent to your organization.
When you’re dedicated to employee well-being, you also know that the people who work for you are going to be engaged and productive and also more innovative.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, employers really started to take notice of how important things like mental health care in terms of business results. Employees were reporting high levels of stress, anxiety, burnout, and other mental health symptoms, which affect profitability, along with creating a negative environment for everyone.
Creating a healthy work environment is multi-faceted, and the following are steps to help you get started.
1. Invest In Training
Well-trained employees are going to know how to do their jobs safely and correctly. They’re going to feel more confident, and a strong training program helps employees feel like part of the team and reduces their frustration.
What’s important about thorough employee training is that it also makes the workplace safer, and reduces the risk of someone getting hurt, whether that’s an employee or a customer.
Employees want to feel like their employer is willing to invest in them. To show that you’re willing to invest in your employees, offer them abundant training and development opportunities.
You can then create your own talent pipeline while also keeping the people who work for you interested and engaged in the work they’re doing.
There’s really no reason for a modern employer not to focus heavily on the value of training and implementing development programs. The availability of technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever before to facilitate valuable training.
2. Allow Autonomy
Technology is allowing employees to work remotely and in flexible ways more so than ever before. You can give your employees a sense of autonomy and allow them to get their work done in the way they see as being best, as long as they’re meeting certain goals.
Employees appreciate autonomy and often have a strong opposition to being micro-managed.
You can allow autonomy in different ways, such as providing remote work opportunities. You can also use task management software to assign and delegate work and track the progress without micromanaging.
3. Support Mental Health
The majority of employees have at least one symptom of a mental health disorder. Anxiety and depressive disorders are especially prevalent. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly worsened mental health for many people.
As an employer, it’s important to be sensitive to the mental health needs of employees.
There are a lot of ways you can do this. You can offer mental health training and seminars, encourage people to talk transparently about mental health in the workplace, and offer benefits that center around mental health, like paid mental health days off.
Some employers are going the extra mile by offering memberships to mental health online services and apps and having seminars centered around mental health topics.
If possible, include mental health coverage as part of your health care plan. Find out how many psychiatrists and psychologists are in-network for your coverage.
4. Implement An Employee Assistance Program
An employee assistance program or EAP provides assessment, counseling, referrals, and coaching services to employees. These work-based interventions are designed as a way to help employees resolve issues that could impact their lives and their jobs. The goal is to proactively address personal issues before they affect work negatively.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 48% of survey respondents say stress negatively affects their personal and professional lives. This costs employers hundreds of billions of dollars a year in missed work and healthcare-related stress. Companies that implement EAPs can reduce stress, benefiting the entire company.
EAPs were originally just meant as a way to help employees deal with workplace stress, but they’re becoming holistic wellness programs.
EAPs provide access to employees for resources that can help guide them through major events in their personal and professional life, such as family situations, professional relationships, or recovery from substance abuse.
They might also include professional development, help with career transitions, and travel benefits so employees can relax and recharge.
5. Give Employees A Voice
Everyone wants to feel like they’re being heard and that their input matters. This is especially true in the workplace, where people spend so much of their time.
Feedback is something that’s not only helpful for employees to provide, but it’s going to help your business thrive as well.
There are a lot of ways you can ask for employee feedback, from AI-powered chatbots to surveys.
If you are going to ask for feedback from your employees, make sure that you’re ready to integrate it when relevant.
6. Show Appreciation Daily
When people show us an appreciation for any part of our lives, it helps us feel happier and more confident. It can be an instant mood boost, and it’s motivating and energizing as well. Meaningful recognition can improve employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction.
In one survey, 82% of employees said they wished they got more recognition. You can encourage everyone to recognize their co-workers, in addition to encouraging leadership to provide meaningful recognition.
7. Promote Physical Health
Finally, employees who are physically healthy are going to be mentally healthier. They’ll miss fewer days of work, and their contributions are likely to be more significant when they feel well physically.
You might have employee physical wellness programs that you pair with mental health programs. You can provide healthy meals and snacks on occasion, put a gym onsite, or have regular group exercise events.