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A business is only as strong as its people. Generally, employers who make a conscious effort to keep their teams healthy have a more productive business as well. Here are some steps you can take to foster a healthy office environment:

Reward Employees Who Make Healthy Choices.

Health insurance rates continue to increase every year for employers in part because of the declining overall health status of Americans as a whole. It’s becoming commonplace for employers to offer incentives to employees who choose to make healthy choices such as quitting smoking or losing weight. Other practices becoming common include on-site workout equipment, offering healthy snack alternatives in the breakroom and reducing the employee’s health insurance contribution if certain health goals are achieved.

Offer Sick Days.

When things are busy, it’s really hard to have someone missing from the team due to being sick. However, asking that employee with the hacking cough to stay home is better for the health of your entire team. Begin the season by reminding employees of your sick time policy and encourage them to utilize those sick days not just for themselves, but the entire office. Sick employees can spread germs like wildfire at the copier, coffee pot, shared computer or conference room.

Don’t Forget Personal/Mental Health Days.

Like sick days, personal or mental health days should be included in your company’s employee leave policy. Life happens and your employees need to know that they have available time to attend funerals, care for a sick family member, attend to personal matters at home and the like. This out of office time is a necessary function and is incredibly appreciated by employees.

Encourage Time To De-Stress.

Addressing the onslaught of stress felt in the workplace is also another beneficial tactic. Foster a team attitude that includes shared timelines, goals and tasks so that no one person shoulders the entire load. Support scheduled breaks during the day or a longer lunch hour on occasion for employees to interact and socialize with one another. Encourage activities proven to reduce stress such as exercise, reading a good book, yoga, naps, brisk walks outdoors and the like.

By paying attention to the health-related needs of your employees, your business will reap the rewards of not only a healthier more productive staff, but also a happier staff as well.