For many managers this time of year, flu season is a reminder of the direct impact their employees’ well-being can have on the day-to-day operations of their companies. Workplace absenteeism can have an effect on productivity, corporate healthcare costs, and a company’s finances. This impact is even more pronounced for smaller companies where the loss of a team member’s contributions for even one day translates to stalled progress for the next hit product. One emerging trend that has helped to offset this effect is a focus on providing a health-focused work environment. Specifically, this is facilitated through a holistic wellness program that focus on:
- Healthier meal options
- Ergonomic office furniture that encourages employees to stand throughout the day
- On-site programs that emphasize cardiovascular exercise.
The results from both EAT Club research as well as third-party data has shown that implementing these small changes leads to direct improvements in a company’s bottom line through improved employee retention, reduced stress in the workplace, and more productivity per employee – all while encouraging employees to make better health choices at work and enhance their well-being.
In a survey of HR professionals, more than two-thirds of respondents said their wellness programs were effective in reducing costs of health care. The good news is that worker well-being doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag or a crew of corporate wellness consultants. A few small tweaks can be all you need to keep employees at your office instead of the doctor’s office.
Bet on better eating
Attraction and retention of talented employees is more important than ever—the 2016 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report finds that recruiting, retaining and developing talent is a top business challenge as many millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce continue to demonstrate that they are motivated by more than a job’s base salary. According to a recent study performed by Glassdoor, 57 percent of millennials say that benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job. Additionally, in an EAT Club survey, 54% of respondents said that if their current employer provided meals, they would be more likely to stay with the company and another 70% are more likely to recommend the company as a great place to work. Keeping key employees happy through the simple step of implementing an on-site meal service can save countless dollars and precious time from having to recruit and train new employees.
One additional benefit to an on-site meal program is that companies can see benefits to productivity from recovering time lost beyond the lunch hour. Our research indicates that an average of $7,968 or more per employee can be recovered in lost productivity. That’s why providing employees with good nutrition right in the office, saving them the time it takes to go out for lunch, is a great productivity tool. Calculate your company’s ROI here.
The benefits extend beyond dollars and cents. In a 2015 Cornell University study, researchers found that “colleagues who eat lunch together are more effective collaborators” and that eating together creates a bond that is “more intimate an act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together.” This enhancement of a team’s work dynamic can lead to better performance and morale.
When implementing a corporate lunch program, ensure that there are options to meet every dietary restriction (e.g.: vegan, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian), as well as healthy choices. Eat Club offers individual choice, so the calorie counter can get their low-calorie Pho or salad, while the more health conscious employee will devour one of our wholesome Rooted bowls—there’s something for everyone.
Take a stand
In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to sitting as “the new cancer”. Many modern offices have sought to break the sitting trend by providing office furniture that encourages employees to also stand and move more throughout the workday. Unfortunately, not every startup has the funds to put all of their employees behind a $300 standing desk to take advantage of this popular health trend. One method that can be embraced by cash-strapped startups is to create standing desk areas throughout the office. One high-top table can serve as a standing desk for 4-5 employees, plus this style can benefit company culture by encouraging inter-department socializing.
Peppering the office with standing desks is a huge driver for workplace productivity and workplace wellness — health benefits include burning more calories during the day and reduced back and neck pains. What’s more, you can increase your office productivity rate by 46 percent, even seeing results after the first month by up to 23 percent.
Looking to boost the sense of community around your office? The National Business Group on Health reports employers have been dramatically implementing corporate wellness programs in recent years, spending an average of $693 per employee on incentives in 2015 alone.
So what can you do as an employer? Try organizing a lunchtime or after-work exercise class. Bring in a circuit trainer or yoga instructor to lead the group. If the budget is too tight to make it company-sponsored, send out an email to gauge interest for a tentative head count — then divide the instructor’s fee among participants. Many employees will be happy to pay $10-15 for the convenience of having an exercise session brought right to their office. Another option is an office walking club. Encourage employees to walk together during lunch or talk meetings on-the-go to rack up their daily step counts.
Take the time to invest in ways to make your office a healthier and happier environment. By implementing more health-conscious perks, you’re building a more collaborative and productive team that will translate to a positive ROI for the company.
 “SHRM Survey Findings: 2014 Strategic Benefits – Wellness Initiatives.” SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/SHRM_Survey_Findings_2014_Strategic-Benefits-Wellness-Initiatives.pdf
 “2016 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report.” HireRight. http://www.hireright.com/assets/uploads/files/HireRight2016BenchmarkingReport.pdf