Some people may associate “job” with “stress,” so it might be strange to hear the phrase “workplace wellness.”

The word “wellness” involves physical, mental, and emotional health, and there are two distinct groups of people who need to prioritize workplace wellness—for their own benefit, and for the benefit of others. This blog will explain why employers and employees should both care about making their workplace a healthier place to be.

The Stats Don’t Lie

According to a recent Gallup poll reported by CNBC, job satisfaction is at an all-time low. Take a look at these sobering statistics:

  • Sixty percent of people reported being emotionally detached at work and 19% as being miserable.
  • Only 33% reported feeling engaged — and that is even lower than 2020.
  • In the U.S. specifically, 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs on a daily basis, 41% as being worried, 22% as sad, and 18% angry.

The usual culprits are to blame: job hours, work-life balance, and workplace location can all leave employees dissatisfied. But the Gallup poll shows there’s not much overall difference between the responses from people working in the office and those working remotely. Nor is there a significant difference between people who work four days a week and those who work five. Workers are simply unhappy.

Gallup reports that the top cause for job dissatisfaction is “unfair treatment at work.” The CNBC article goes on to list the four other major gripes — “unmanageable workloads, unclear communication from managers, lack of manager support, and unreasonable time pressure. All five of these experiences are either entirely or significantly influenced by the same factor: managers.”

Why Employers Should Care About Workplace Wellness

Investing in employee wellness isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity if you want long-term success for your company. Sure, it will cost the business a bit of the budget, but it will also increase productivity and reduce healthcare costs. AMP is free for Marion County businesses

Nothing takes the place of being an effective leader who respects the team and acknowledges their work. That kind of behavior contributes to workplace wellness by boosting self-esteem, morale, and emotional and mental health.

But there are other things that need to be done. Two major improvements to workplace wellness involve the physical space where your team does their job.

  1. Prioritize an ergonomic set-up. Talk to an expert or do your own research, but an ergonomic workspace affects a person’s physical comfort, which influences their ability to focus and be productive. Consider standing desks, active chairs, computer screen heights, desk heights, and chair heights, plus armrest positioning — even room lighting, calming paint colors, and soothing art. Ultimately, inattention to ergonomic design can result in health problems that will be detrimental to your workforce, not to mention your company’s healthcare costs.
  2. Listen to what your employees want. What the internet says worked for some other group or what the company down the street did might not be what’s best for your team. Just the fact that you’re asking them questions and listening to them is part of creating workplace wellness. Need help getting started? Read “Workplace Wellness Tips and Ideas for 2023” for all kinds of information you can use to formulate a plan. Then get busy. Invest in the wellbeing of your employees, and they will thank you. So will your bottom line when you reap the financial ROI.

Why Employees Should Care About Workplace Wellness

It’s great if your employer has created a designated relaxation space at the office for you to use when you need a break, want to relax, or have a few minutes to decompress. But if such a place doesn’t exist for you, here are some tips to help reduce stress and avoid burnout:

  1. Take a break. One long break isn’t as helpful as several short breaks throughout the day. During your break, give your eyes a rest from any type of screen. Use the time to walk around, and if you can go outside to breathe fresh air — do it.
  2. Keep your workspace organized. A messy workspace can create a chaotic headspace, which can add stress and lower productivity. Place live greenery on your desk to boost your view and your mood.
  3. Bring healthy drinks and snacks to the office so you stay fueled and fit all day long. Headaches, lack of focus, and feeling sluggish are often a result of dehydration. Keep that water bottle handy!
    Want some more ideas? Search the internet for “workplace wellness tips” and take your pick of the roughly 30 million results that appear in an instant. Happier at work usually means happier at home, and life is too short to be miserable.

Workplace Wellness Is a Lifestyle

A single step — no matter how big — isn’t enough to reach the end goal. Workplace wellness won’t happen overnight, and there’s no one-time fix that solves everything. If you or your boss try something and it’s a bust, be grateful for the effort and try something else. Workplace wellness is a lifestyle created by daily conscious choices that add up over time.

Choices that can be examined and addressed if they don’t benefit anyone — or if they were useful at first but stopped helping after a while. Everyone is unique, and every office environment and personnel team will have different needs that ebb and flow.

As long as employers and employees are committed to creating a healthy workspace and to treating each other with respect and kindness, the details are for you to decide.

Contact AMP@mchdt.org to learn about our FREE Workplace Wellness Program for Marion County businesses.