Did you know that employee health and well-being in the workplace has the biggest impact on their performance?
Following 'Health in the World on Work", a research conducted by Finnish professor Juhani Ilmarinen and supported by the Public Health Programme of the European Union on improving and extending work life, Walters People turned to more than 1000 employees and executives in Belgium to enquire about their health habits in the workplace.
The importance of good health cannot be underestimated. In fact, health has an impact of 39% on an employee's working capacity. An even more important aspect than other factors relating to the job, such as the type and organisation of work (33%), and the skills of the employee (13%).
Respondents of the Walters People survey seem to acknowledge the importance leading a healthy work life, starting with healthy eating in the workplace: at least three days per week, two thirds of respondents say they eat a healthy lunch, like a salad or soup, and nearly half of executives encourages their staff to have healthier meals.
One out of 10 respondents reveal that they however never have a healthy lunch.
Özlem Simsek, director of Walters People Belgium, discusses four key elements from our survey on how to create a healthy environment and, in turn, positively impact your business gives.
1. Encourage employees to bring their own lunch
The study shows that many employees prepare their own lunch. "65% of all respondents bring their own food to work”, says Özlem Simsek. "They make their lunches healthier by often bringing a salad or soup from home. But employers can also play a role here by providing fruit baskets or soup for example."
2. Invest in healthy meals and snacks
Managers bring their own lunch less often. They eat out, or in the company restaurant, more than average (25%) and more often have food delivered (8%). "They prefer, like many senior staff, to eat outside because they are busy balancing work with family life", Özlem Simsek explains. “Many employers provide an excellent canteen.
"As an employer, when you serve delicious and healthy meals, you are giving out a powerful message about a healthy lifestyle for all employees."
3. Keep moving!
While 49% of managers say they encourage healthy lunches, that number is lower when it comes to sports. And it shows, because more than 9 in 10 respondents don’t engage in any form of physical exercise during working hours. Özlem Simsek: "It is a bit more complicated to incorporate exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle in the workplace. However, you can easily begin by taking the stairs, or just moving around in your office regularly. Some employers go further: they offer flexible lunch hours or a discount on a gym membership."
4. Communicate clearly about health
What is also notable is the fact that managers say they encourage healthy lunches (49%) and sports (32%), but the message does not always seem to get through to the employees: only 34% say their employer stimulates healthy lunches and sports (23%). "Therefore it is beneficial for managers to communicate their health policy as explicitly and clearly as possible", says Özlem Simsek. "Attending to the health of employees is truly the cornerstone of a strong HR policy."