Guest Contributor

How to Encourage a Healthy Office Environment

By | Regina Thomas

The COVID-19 health crisis has changed the way that business is run. When you begin the delicate process of bringing your employees back into the office, it is vital that you consider how you are going to provide a safe and healthy workspace for your valued staff. Here are five ways that you can encourage a healthy work environment.

Keep Your Team Connected

During this unprecedented time, it is more important than ever that you make the optimal mental health of your employees a top priority. This is particularly important if you have employees that are still working remotely. It can be isolating to be working from home.

Keeping your team connected and engaging regularly can go a long way in helping to boost their mental health. Establishing a strong personal connection between team members will improve productivity in the long run. If your employees are back onsite working, consider planning regular social events so that you can build these personal connections.

Follow Recommended Safety Protocols

The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made your job easier by providing clear and direct guidance about how you can bring back employees safely. Following these safety protocols will give you a good head start in keeping your workspace healthy.

If your employees work closely together, you need to take the steps to arrange the office seating arrangement so that everyone is appropriately distanced. You also need to make hand sanitizing products easily available to your employees. Buying bulk hand sanitizer will make it affordable and convenient to keep your dispensers stocked at all times.

Offer Healthy Food and Drink Options

While you want to be careful to not encourage employees to congregate and eat in close quarters during this time, you can still boost the health of your team by providing an array of healthy food and drink options in your workplace. Rather than stocking the vending machines with junk food, look at healthier alternatives that you can offer. Or consider bringing in special treats periodically. Good ideas are a smoothie bar or individually packaged salads.

Water filling stations are also a good way to encourage proper hydration. This is a better alternative to a germy drinking fountain. By providing your employees with easily accessible nutritious foods and drinks, you will create a work culture that emphasizes good health for everyone.

It’s simple to create a smoothie bar. All you need is a powerful blender, like the ones on Kitchen Habit, a freezer stocked with fruit and vegetables, and a fridge with fruit juice and milk. Your employees will love being able to create a healthy smoothie while they work.

Implement Fitness Challenges

With a focus on keeping everyone healthy, now is a great time to implement some fun workplace fitness challenges. The goal is to support the fitness goals of your employees through group programs. Your employees will be motivated to participate if everyone is doing it.

Perhaps you want to start a socially distanced running club over the lunch hour? Or maybe you want to organize a hiking club that meets after work? As a bonus, these fitness challenges will also go a long way in encouraging social interaction within your team, leading to a happier and healthier work environment.

Be Generous with Sick Time

It is absolutely imperative that you do not make employees feel guilty for taking sick time during this pandemic. This is not the time for your staff to feel as if they need to suck it up and keep working even if they feel ill. Be sure to offer a generous sick time package and be firm that employees should never consider coming into the office if they are feeling ill at all.

Keeping telecommuting as an option will help to alleviate the guilt that some workers feel for missing work for a mild illness. If COVID-19 cases are spiking in your area, you may also want to consider temperature screenings for employees as they arrive at the office. By creating a culture that does not reward employees for working while they feel under the weather, you will reduce the chances that the virus will spread in your office.

Implementing these five tips will give you the confidence that you have done everything that you can to provide a healthy work environment. While it may seem like a lot of work initially, these efforts will pay off big dividends down the road.

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