Tiresome colleagues; that back from holiday feeling; it’s raining; even the recent heatwave… whatever reasons it might be, most people have a fall in productivity sometimes. However, efficiency levels can fall to worrying levels when staff are stressed, lack confidence, are constantly targeted to meet ever higher and changing expectations, or are simply under the weather.
Many employers have, in the past, placed the responsibility of managing staff health and wellbeing on the individual; however it has become very clear that the responsibility falls on both the employer and their employees. The impact on an organisation of not doing so can be seen in the 2016 labour force survey produced by the Health and Safety Executive. Figures highlight that 30.4 million working days were lost in the UK in 2015-2016 through sickness. Stress, depression and anxiety caused 11.7 million days to be lost, while musculoskeletal problems accounted for 8.8 million sick days.
With such losses at stake, looking after staff health has to be a main priority. Maintaining a friendly atmosphere, having clearly defined roles and realistic goals are essential for an efficient workspace and a happy and productive staff who reach their targets and keep their clients happy.
So, how do you do all this? Here are a few tips to help you boost the happiness, health and productivity of your team so they can achieve more each day.
Make your team take regular breaks
Sitting for more than an hour at a time raises the risk of heart failure and obesity. It is recommended to take at least a two-minute break from your desk every half-hour to stretch your legs. Encourage your team to get some natural light and fresh air at lunch. Being active can improve output and work satisfaction by up to 80pc, according to research by Business in The Community.
Help your team stay hydrated and full of energy
Consider providing water coolers throughout the office and even provide water bottles to ensure they are used. Provide non caffeinated drinks that don’t spike energy such as fruit teas. You could even consider supplying fresh fruit and berries, vegetables, nuts and wholegrain cereals to stop that ‘afternoon slump’ and increase energy levels.
Use external wellness therapies
You may want to consider bringing in an external wellness practitioner, such as a yoga teacher or reflexologist, to target office inactivity and stress.
Test alternative meeting styles
Meetings that lack focus are a drain on productivity, time and motivation. Consider conducting meetings while walking or standing. Encourage employees to step away from their desks to inspire ideas and introduce exercise into a typically sedentary day.
Choose office perks wisely
An office games console and boozy nights out may win you likes on Instagram, but it's important to consider the long term. Rather than spending precious funds on alcohol fuelled excursions or the latest video games, introduce flexible working, gym memberships or healthy away days.Rewards could be offered as vouchers for staff that pays for regular health checks or flu jabs for example.
Welcome canine companions
While they aren't for everyone and you have to check your health and safety regulations, but dogs can quickly liven up the atmosphere in a workplace. So long as nobody in the office has an objection having a staff member's dog in every now and again can boost interactions between workers, encourage people to take breaks and reduce stress.
Promote a positive attitude
Probably the most important approach to encourage productivity is if you make employees feel that you accept that they are only human, and therefore cannot be 100% efficient, 100% of the time. Try to promote that we all make mistakes, but what's important is that we learn from these and move on.
It goes a long way if you start with a positive outlook, communicate what you want to achieve and how to healthily achieve it and hopefully you will be on track to meeting your business goals.