Not seeing the kind of productivity that you want in your employees? Check your workplace environment. In a book written by a distinguished sustainability and high-performance work expert, "The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees---and Boost Your Company's Bottom Line" guides readers to areas they can check when investing in their employee's health so they can improve (not exhaust) their bottom line along with peak productivity.
“Most employers today are fairly reactive when it comes to employee health …”
Author Leigh Stringer wants employees to step up their commitment to employee health and not just in offering health insurance or a few counseling sessions. No, the kind of commitment that Stringer is calling for is proactive. In her book, The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees — and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line, she provides the reasons why an employer should be proactive about their employees’ health and how it can actually improve your employee return on investment instead of breaking your bottom line.
What is The Healthy Workplace About?
Employers shouldn’t be responsible for their employee’s health, should they? Does it matter if your business offers fruit in the vending machine or candy bars? Does it matter if your employees disrupt their work-life balance by consistently checking in on emails even while they’re on a family vacation?
Stringer would say that employers do have a responsibility, not a legal duty, to do this. Why? Investing in happy and healthy employees improves the productivity (both quality and output) of the overall company. It’s why companies like Apple, Google, Motley Fool and others offer gym benefits, flex time and unlimited vacation. It isn’t just an employee perk designed to lure employees. These companies know that employee health means bottom-line wealth.
In the book The Healthy Workplace, Stringer traces the impact of technology (both the positive and negative) on our employee productivity. As technology increases our ability to do more work with less physical activity, employees are beginning to move less but feel more stress. Many workers spend hours staring at a computer screen while battling constant interruptions coming from email, social media, phone calls, instant messaging apps and to-do lists. In addition, many of these workers also take fewer breaks for rest and lunch (often eating at their desks), sleep less than they should and eat heavily processed and sugary foods and drinks just to keep their energy levels up.
Not a pretty picture.
And this set of circumstances is draining the health of employees and having an impact on the company’s workforce, as Stringer repeatedly calls attention to in her book. The problems, largely created by technology another changes, can be solved if employers take heed of Stringer’s ultimate message. In order for employees to consistently compete at a high performance, employers should promote an environment where that performance can be grown and maintained.
Stringer is an author, researcher and consultant for EYP Inc., a design agency that specializes in helping clients create and maintain sustainability and high-performance environments. She has worked with a diverse array of clients including the government, Bank of America, the International Facilities Management Association and others.
What Was Best About The Healthy Workplace?
The best part of The Healthy Workplace is the nuanced insight that Stringer brings to the table. Her book goes far beyond the simple mantra of “Let’s all get healthy” and into the details that employers need to consider when starting strategies to improve employee health. She covers objections, health insurance, vending machines, space (cubicle vs open space), air quality, stress management and more in a more comprehensive view of what it means to be healthy in the workplace.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
The Healthy Workplace does an incredible job of showing the variety of perspectives that an employer (and even employees) should consider when trying to create a healthier workplace. There is a bias, though, toward companies with large budgets (like Motley Fool, Next Jump, Under Armour, etc.) in the examples. The book makes the recommendation that companies of all sizes should work to improve employee health. But Stringer should provide more examples of businesses with less than a million dollars in their budget to provide perspective for the small business owner who wants to invest in a healthier workplace too.
Why Read The Healthy Workplace?
If you, as a business leader, are in any way, shape or fashion concerned with your employees’ productivity or morale, The Healthy Workplace is the kind of book you want to consider. The book details the negative toll that technology is having on individual and collective health. The author points out how employers and employees can redirect this downward spiral with a proactive approach to the decisions they make about their time, their workplaces and the activities they engage in while at the place where they will spend most of their lives — at work.