Why managers need to create a health-oriented work culture

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The pandemic has changed everything – for companies, managers and employees. At the height of the pandemic, we were trapped indoors, our work lives interfering with our personal lives, parents juggling Zoom meetings with the virtual school, and staff faced the added stress of not knowing how the pandemic was affecting them life and her life would affect loved ones. During this time of struggle, many companies showed their true values ​​in how they responded to the difficulties faced by their employees. And for their employees, it was a time to weigh and reassess what they wanted from their company.

Also see: What 3 companies are doing to keep their employees healthy

What employees want

Today, 80% of workers say an employer who cares about their health and well-being will influence their future career choices. Managers are therefore faced with a major challenge: How can employees be supported in a radically changed work environment in which priorities and work preferences have changed?

Mercer recently conducted a survey of 2,000 American workers to find out what they really want from the pandemic. They found that the top three concerns for low-wage workers were meeting monthly expenses, mental/emotional health, and physical health and fitness. For high-wage workers, the main factors were physical health and fitness, workload/life balance, and personal security.

The key to take away? All of these top concerns are about well-being. In the past, most employee concerns revolved around income, management, commute time, and job performance expectations. However, since the pandemic, employees have been looking for companies that not only offer a decent wage, but also offer benefits that help employees live better.

See also: 8 Ways to Foster an Environment of Employee Wellbeing

The benefits of giving employees what they want

Recent research suggests that companies that invest in employee health benefit from improved performance, and a number of case studies show that companies that prioritize employee well-being exceed their targets and are able to about three times the return to achieve shareholders. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that healthy employees are happier, calmer and more engaged, sleep better and get sick less often, leading to a 20% increase in national productivity.

Prioritizing these initiatives ensures that a company nurtures and facilitates the path for people to achieve a common goal of performance; and organizations that choose to adopt a health-centric culture can reap a variety of positive impacts. Here we examine a number of benefits specific to companies investing in employee nutrition and healthy eating:

  • Attract and retain talent: According to a 2018 study, taking a lunch break can improve job satisfaction, efficiency, and the likelihood that employees will recommend their workplace to others as a great place to work.

  • Reduce stress: We’ve all experienced that awful mix of hunger and anger that’s often referred to as “hangry.” Studies have found that what you eat can help your brain produce chemicals that promote better sleep, reduce anxiety, and increase feelings of calm.

  • Reduce healthcare costs: Healthcare costs are expected to reach 6.5% in 2022 due to delayed treatment due to Covid-19, mental health issues due to the added stress of our current climate and the average worker’s health deteriorating during of the pandemic has worsened. Companies that invest in the nutrition of their employees can reduce health costs in the long term through preventive measures.

  • Improve productivity: Skipping breakfast decreases productivity by reducing short-term memory and cognitive performance. Additionally, those who eat an unhealthy diet are 66% more likely to suffer from reduced productivity.

  • Improve performance: The brain uses up about 20% of an employee’s daily caloric intake, and studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables can lead to greater happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being.

As organizations face the ever-evolving employment landscape, one thing remains constant: connecting and caring for your employees—regardless of where, when, and how they work—is key to creating a happy and healthy workplace culture. An organization is only as good as the people it employs. Those organizations that want to survive and thrive in 2022 and beyond must respond appropriately, looking beyond financial goals to address the needs of all of their employees. If you are what you eat, then companies are the people and practices they employ.

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