In recent years, there has been an increasing realisation of the importance of improving employee health and wellbeing in the workplace in order to increase employee productivity, encourage colleague cooperation, and reduce work related stress.

There are various ways that this can be done, and efforts do not have to be costly or time-consuming in order for companies and employees to reap the benefits. Here are five suggestions that we believe can help achieve improved health and wellbeing in the work place.

  • Fitness programmes

Physical activity is vital for achieving good health and wellbeing, and additionally can lead to increased work productivity. Endorphins that are released during exercise can help improve employee self-confidence and motivation, and thus potentially contribute to increased work productivity. There is a range of options that can be used to promote exercise, from simple and affordable approaches to those that are more complex and costly. Some suggestions include sit-stand desks, yoga or other fitness classes at work, on-site fitness centres, free or discounted gym memberships, and walking meetings.

  • Flexible working arrangements

Allowing employees to have the option of working from home can be important for those that feel they need a break from the stress of the work place and the long commute to and from work. It is important for mental health and reduces the risk of fatigue, which could lead to a boost in productivity. If plausible, an effective option is for companies to give employees the choice to work at home one day of the week.

  • Access to healthy food

We all know that diet is an important aspect of good health, therefore employers should ensure that staff have access to organic, processed-free and nutritional food options in the canteens and vending machines at work, as an alternative to grabbing unhealthy fast-food or snacks on the go. It’s also important for employers to provide fridges for their staff, so that they have the option to bring fresh food into work.

  • Mindfulness training

Introducing activities into the workplace, such as meditation, breathing and yoga, can help employees unwind and feel more balanced, which helps lead to improved productivity and focus at work.  However other simpler aspects that employees can do for themselves include uncluttering the workspace, taking a ‘no phone’ break and taking a five-minute break in a quiet space to calm down and focus the mind.

  • Improv training

Encouraging staff to take part in improv training at work engages them in an entertaining and fun activity which could help reduce stress. This is a good way for employees to exercise the brain, whilst improving various communicative skills, such as active listening, confidence, public speaking, conflict resolution and so on. It also can help to bring teams together at work, and create new friendships.