Every business owner wants productive employees that do their best work. Productive employees have an exponentially positive impact on your business’s bottom line – they generate more labor, they work more efficiently, they understand the need to reduce absences, and they work better together and with your company’s best interests in mind. To have productive employees, however, it’s important to understand the relationship between productivity, as well as happiness and satisfaction. Unhappy employees do less, are absent more, and don’t represent your business in the way it deserves.
Having happy employees should always be a goal because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also the most profitable thing to do, which makes it even smarter to prioritize. There are a few factors that go into defining a happy worker – financial security, work-life balance, flexibility, positive leadership, and constructive coworkers are among some of the most important. Another big one, however, is health.
Nearly half of all employee absences are related to health, which right there shows how significant the impact can be to your business. Absences mean zero productivity, so reducing them is always a worthy goal. You can’t request an employee simply not get sick, in which case they shouldn’t come to work anyway as that can cause more absences, but you can help them avoid illnesses in the first place.
First, providing a healthy work environment. Uncleaned work surfaces, stale air, and gross equipment will all contribute to the spread of sickness, which can be a domino effect throughout your workforce. Second, unhappier employees are more likely to smoke cigarettes, be overweight, sleep deprived, or engage in other activities that adversely impact their health. By contrast, employees who are motivated and encouraged to be healthy are more likely to have less health-risk behaviors, which translates right back into more productive hours invested in your company. Third, poor health amongst employees contributes to a reduction of morale, and low morale means higher turnover – nothing costs your company more avoidable expenses than employee turnover, so addressing this is essential.
It’s also important to note that most people can easily spend the majority of their lives at work, so it’s necessary to understand and appreciate that their environment can work with them and their needs, or against them. Poor air filtration can affect their respiratory system, making them more susceptible to falling ill or causing a direct issue itself. Work stations that don’t address their ergonomic needs can damage the musculoskeletal system. Employees being asked to work long hours and early mornings are often sleep deprived, affecting their cognitive functions and alertness levels. Over-caffeinated workers lack a technical attention to detail, and suffer the cumulative effects of over-stimulation, often coupled with sleep deprivation. All these factors directly affect their productivity and your bottom line.
Health comes in many forms – physical, mental, emotional, financial, and more. It’s important to consider, as an employer, the role you are playing in each and understanding whether you are helping or hurting. By doing your part to improve the conditions your workers live in, you’re making an investment in your business and yourself to see that return on investment in the form of happier, more satisfied, and more productive employees.