The following article tells you that Exercise and healthy eating can help when doing business. There are many ways in which companies may attempt to greater utilise the potential of their employees and increase productivity; many organisations run team building exercises, and stress management interventions, or offer flexitime work hours in order to improve the wellbeing of their employees and increase their motivation and productivity. But is employee health a factor in helping businesses to achieve their goals? The correlation between healthy eating, exercise and employee productivity suggests that health in the workplace can indeed help when doing business.
A 2005 study originating from Stanford University investigating the relationship between health and economic growth states that “Health is an important form of human capital” with the potential to enhance employee productivity by increasing both their physical and mental capacities[i]; it is suggested that healthier individuals will benefit from greater strength, endurance and cognitive functioning than less healthy individuals. Employees who lead a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and a healthy diet are also less likely to miss work through absenteeism, thereby increasing the productivity of the companies for which they work.
As relatively simple interventions designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating amongst employees could vastly reduce the economic cost incurred by employee absenteeism, improving employee health in the workplace is a very effective means for companies to improve efficiency and productivity. This can be achieved in several ways; companies may consider encouraging employees to consume a healthy diet by providing healthier catering options, or implement corporate wellness programmes designed to promote individual employee health.
Corporate Wellness magazine suggests that because employees spend such a large portion of their day at work, such interventions can be extremely effective in reducing absenteeism and increasing employee productivity. Companies that make a purposeful effort to improve employee wellbeing can also expect to see higher employee morale, as genuine concern for employee welfare demonstrates a corporate culture of respecting and valuing employees. This could act to increase productivity indirectly by reducing staff turnover and increasing teamwork.
Indeed, efforts to improve employee health are mutually beneficial for both organisation and individual; whilst the organisation benefits from lower levels of absenteeism, and increased productivity, the employee benefits from being part of a corporate culture that promotes high levels of health in the workplace.
Although eating well is important both at work and at home, maintaining a healthy diet could become challenging for even the most dedicated individuals when employed by a company that provides no healthy eating options in the cafeteria.
As well as the importance of eating well, regular exercise is essential for the health of employees. Not only is exercise essential for maintaining high levels of fitness, but it is also a highly effective means of tackling stress. A 2001 report in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 40 million workdays per year are lost in the UK due to stress; reducing occupational stress is vital organisations wishing to improve employee productivity.
Chronic stress can lead to a number of physical and emotional health issues, which in turn can lead to higher levels of absenteeism. As regular exercise is an effective means of stress reduction, companies may wish to provide workplace interventions aimed at increasing levels of physical activity amongst employees, as this would benefit not only their general fitness levels, but also reduce levels of occupational stress, improving productivity and morale.
Taking regular exercise and eating well has long been known to benefit individuals, but promoting employee health in the workplace can also benefit companies. In this respect, the health of employees is indicative of the health of an organisation, and there is a big incentive to get fit.