How to Prioritize Your Employees’ Health and Wellbeing

You should care about your employees’ health. Not only are they critical to your business, they are people, and wanting what’s best for them and taking an interest in their wellbeing is the right thing to do.

What are some ways you can prioritize your employees’ health? They have busy schedules and may not take the necessary steps to put their own health first, so they’ll appreciate your efforts to give them more opportunities to so. Investors and biochemistry students like Cody Moxam at the University of Dallas know the importance of being healthy, so here are his recommendations for effectively realizing your employees’ health the right precedence.

Provide health insurance

You should provide your employees with health insurance, even if the Affordable Care Act does not require you to. If you demonstrate to your employees that you care about them, they will be more motivated and more invested in your business’s success. Providing health insurance is easier than you think, and it’s one of the chief benefits that make employees happy (alongside vacation/PTO, pension plans, 401(k)s, and other retirement plans). It also saves you money on taxes. Don’t make your employees struggle to find other programs that they can afford or enroll in—set them up with legitimate and thorough health insurance (don’t opt for plans with scanty benefits), and let them know you appreciate their work. You can also contribute to 401(k) accounts so they’ll have some financial cushion when they retire.

Let employees have time to focus on their health

Let your employees have time to spend on their health, like PTO and flexible work schedules. If you limit the number of sick days they can take and force them to come into work when they feel ill, it is both detrimental to their recovery and can get everyone else sick, too (and this will also affect productivity).

Emphasize the importance of mental health

When people think of health, too many of them only think of physical, instead of both physical and mental. While the mind is a complicated thing, the brain is still an organ, and it is subject to illness just like the rest of the body. When people are dealing with mental illness and stress, it can take severe tolls on their lives and their jobs.

Forbes recently asked several business leaders and entrepreneurs how they prioritize their employees’ mental health. Ceo of Whil, Joe Burton, says that his team treats professionals like athletes because if he expects them to push and train for success, then they need to take breaks and time to recover. Marco Scognamiglio, Global CEO of RAPP Worldwide, says:

“Our talent is automatically enrolled, at no cost, into an employee assistance program that provides support, resources, and information pertaining to personal work-life issues, including confidential counseling, legal support, and more—with free initial conversations or sessions with a professional.”

Mental health is an issue that does not receive nearly as much recognition as it deserves. As a biochemistry student (as he makes clear on his website), Cody Moxam knows the role stress can play in life, so he advises to take the matter seriously. Your employees might not even know what they are dealing with or how best to help themselves, so providing them with options will go a long way towards their job performance—and more importantly, happiness.

Make a health-oriented office

There are numerous ways you can make your office health-oriented. Ideas include making your office and all company vehicles smoke-free, offering healthy snacks in the break room, encouraging healthy eating, raising awareness of the importance of sleep, and hosting onsite flu vaccinations. You can even start an office wellness program that gives your workers reason and opportunities to exercise and engage in social activities.

Other small but significant things you can do around the office might look like installing standing desks to limit how long people are sitting down, having an expert review your building’s ergonomics, setting up bike racks outside your doors, and more. You could also provide gym memberships and encourage meetings where everybody stands or takes a stroll through town.

Be sure to comply with the law

Make sure that you comply with the law when it comes to keeping your employees healthy. Paymedia notes that many business owners who genuinely care about their employees’ health do further research and discover that they are not as in accordance with the law as they thought. The law is an employer’s bare minimum, so put in work to go above and beyond, and ask your employees how you can help them best. Your employees are your best asset, so not only is prioritizing your employees’ wellbeing the ethical thing to do, it’s better for your business. When it comes to keeping your employees healthy, one of the most important things you can do is ask them: what can I do to make your lives better?