Having previously discussed the safety concerns that all business owners must apply to their business, let’s move thoughts onto the other aspect of safety: the health of your employees.
Why Should Business Owners Care About Employer Health?
Aside from the “because you’re a good person” factor, there’s a few basic facts that you should consider when it comes to employee health:
- Employee sick days cost an eye-watering amount of money to business every year. This is in both the cost of sick pay and the loss of productivity.
- That loss of productivity is not to be sniffed at, either. Not only do you lose the work of the employee themselves, but you’ll also see other staff members compromised as they try to cover for the loss of the individual who is away from work for the day.
- Even if your employees come to work while sick, they are still not going to be operating at full ability due to their health.
- They may also bring infectious illnesses – such as the common cold or ‘flu – which can spread through an office like wildfire.
So, put simply, you really should care about the health of your employees – for the sake of your company if nothing else.
Is It Invasive For A Business To Care About Employee Health?
One of the biggest concerns for entrepreneurs is that by involving themselves in questions of employee health, they are somehow crossing a line.
Of course, there’s every chance that a particularly sensitive individual might see it that way – but most won’t. The best way to avoid any lingering doubts about discussing health as being “too personal” is to make sure everything you put into place is entirely voluntary. If you start making health a requirement for someone to do their job, that puts you in a difficult ethical position. However, if you just emphasize the benefits of good health and perhaps even incentivise good healthcare practices, then you’re on firm ground.
What Areas Should You Be Encouraging?
There are a number of different things you can do to encourage good health in your employees. Below are a few of the options, along with ideas on how to implement them satisfactorily into your business.
First and foremost, cover the life-or-death scenarios by ensuring at least one person in your office holds CPR certification. Knowing how to correctly perform CPR – there are a surprising number of myths surrounding CPR – can make all the difference in the world in a life-threatening situation. By ensuring you have one employee (at the very least) who is qualified in the correct techniques, you can help to prevent calamity in your office.
General Health ChecksThere are no firm guidelines on how often someone should see their doctor for an overall physical, though annual is a good place to start – especially if over the age of 55. One way to encourage this would be to offer a paid afternoon off for all staff to go to their physical – providing, of course, they can supply proof of the appointment. They don’t need a full afternoon for a physical, but the incentive of a few hours off afterwards might be enough to get reluctant attendees through the door.
Eye health is a particular concern if your employees are frequently using computers. Everyone should be having a thorough eye exam every 12-24 months depending on age; the older someone is, the more frequent their eye exams should be. You could even consider having an eye health day, where mobile opticians can come and test your staff all at once.
DietYou can promote healthy eating habits by ensuring all the food available on site at your premises is healthy. This might not be a particularly welcome gesture – people are attached to their junk food! – but it does give employees a choice. They can eat the good food, or they can inconvenience themselves to go off site to buy something different. Given that circumstance, most employees will choose to remain on site rather than wasting their lunch break on a trip out. Focus on protein-rich foods and leafy green veg, and limit the amount of sugar-filled sodas available through vending machines. If you do want to offer a sweetener option, then go for something like stevia rather than white cane sugar.
In conclusion, any savvy business owner will know that the health of their business very much depends on the health of their employees. Save time, money, and lost productivity by being proactive about your employees health – for their sake as much as your own.