The Future Of Work: Promoting A Healthy Environment In The Modern Workplace

Employee morale and happiness at work are crucial factors to any company’s success. Understanding what motivates job seekers and current employees alike can make all the difference when creating a healthy company culture and environment. Emphasizing a healthy workplace culture can increase retention as well as employee engagement. At the heart of a company’s success is often a culture that truly demonstrates its value and appreciation of employees, which can often be found by supporting employees’ physical and mental health.

Finding Value In Wellness

Nearly ten years ago, prior to joining Marathon Health, I was looking for a solution to the rising healthcare expenses for my employer and increased claims by our employees. This trend had been going on for a number of years and after a few years of increasing rates and reworking health care plans, we decided to focus on wellness to see if that would move the needle.

First, we offered a wellness plan that included activities to educate and inform employees about the impact that wellness could have on their lives. At the end of the year, we saw a slight decrease in claims and expenses. Because the decrease was small, we decided to push our approach to the next level — we moved our wellness program from activities-based to results-based. As part of this move, we began offering onsite healthcare to promote wellness, providing support for a wellness plan that focused on results to earn incentives and continued to educate employees on the need for engagement in the program and the health center.

In a few short years, we saw several significant changes in the cost of healthcare and the health and happiness of our employees. We had reduced claims to the extent that there were minimal health insurance increases. With these results, the health center became the cornerstone of our benefit plans. Our employees listed the health center, our pension plan and free parking as the top three benefits that our employer provided. It was the proof we needed to know that employees today feel most valued at companies that care about their well-being both in and out of the office.

Why A Positive Company Culture Is Especially Critical Today

Reimagine Your Work Environment

At the same time, we also looked at the workplace environment as a crucial setting to emphasize health promotion as there is often a link between physical health and behavioral health. Reimagining your work environment to highlight employee wellness can mean creating an environment that supports employee mental health and flexibility, along with physical health. Employers typically focus on providing a safe, hazard-free workplace for their employees, but there is more that can be done to promote a healthy work environment and culture.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we see more and more employers opting to move to a virtual platform with remote work. With this shift in the work environment, there is also a shift in the ways we need to adapt to keep employees safe and healthy. Whether transitioning back into the office, continuing with remote work or navigating a blended approach, the pandemic has pushed us all to think creatively with wellness in mind when reimagining our work environments.

A key piece of a successful and healthy work environment (whether in-person or remote) is work-life balance. Finding a balance between work and personal life is sometimes challenging to accomplish. Gone are the days where employers push for the ever-faster pace of burnt-out employees. Many modern employees are demanding more flexibility and control when it comes to balancing their lives with their work structure. Work with your employees to find this balance. The result will be happier, healthier and more productive employees.

From my experience, I’ve seen the importance of being proactive and staying ahead of what today’s employees expect from their job and employer. When a company’s culture is supportive and healthy, employees’ mental and physical health can benefit. Whether promoting a culture of wellness through a wellness plan, an onsite health center, an emphasis on work-life balance or a combination of techniques, I’ve seen the success with my own eyes. In order to retain top talent and create a motivated, healthy workforce, take a look at your own organization and reassess if it’s evolving to meet the needs of today’s modern employees.

Source: Debby Routt, Forbes.