Office culture is mentioned so often in startup circles that it’s lost some of its meaning. One of the most vital ways to maintain a healthy office culture is to ensure your employees are...actually healthy. If leadership hasn’t implemented or enforced policy which supports the health and well-being of its employees, the employees are likely to suffer physically and mentally. Not only will that affect morale, but it will impact your company’s bottom line, too. Here’s what your business can do to foster a healthier office environment.
Paid Sick Time Policy
Let’s start with the most obvious. If you want your employees to be healthy, you have to give them a chance to actually heal. Not giving your team paid time off to rest and recover appropriately de-incentivizes employees from taking time off at all. According to an article from Scientific American, “workers who are not able to take paid time off to see a doctor are more likely to take six or more sick days a year than are those who can take time off.” Lack of paid sick time also compromises employee productivity and quality of work. The article states that “workers who are ill while on the job account for anywhere between 18 to 60 percent of workforce productivity losses.”
And of course, we can’t forget: an employee with a cold will probably get the rest of the office sick. Instead of spreading illness around, paid sick time reduces the risk of the whole office coming down with something.
Work from Home
In addition to paid sick time, it’s always a smart idea to give your employees options. Maybe your employee doesn’t feel comfortable coming into the office, but they're totally okay with doing work from their bed. By giving them the option to work remotely when they’re not feeling well, you are once again reducing the likelihood of spreading contagions. Plus, employees can take a nap break during the day without feeling guilty about it.
Paid Medical Benefits
It doesn’t really matter how good your sick policies are if your employees can’t get the medical care they need. At Help.com, our basic free plan offers fully paid health benefits (medical, vision, dental, and long-term disability). We believe that access to healthcare is integral to keeping our employees and their families healthy. Not only is health insurance important for treating medical issues as they’re happening, access to preventive care means avoiding bigger issues in the future.
Plus, health benefits make your employees happier and more productive. According to MetLife’s 2019 Employee Benefits Trends Study, “60% of employers say offering health insurance has led to higher productivity levels.”
Burnout is real, and it can have a major effect on your employees’ mental health and productivity. In order to prevent burnout and keep your team happy, it’s important for leadership to be role models for the rest of the company. While many tech companies offer unlimited PTO, it’s common for employees to avoid using it because the culture discourages it. For example, a company that emphasizes its “hustle” culture may scare employees from taking too many days off. The key is for leadership to take time off themselves and to let their employees know it’s okay to do the same. By creating a culture that actively reinforces breaks as a necessary part of work, employees will feel comfortable taking time off when it’s necessary and appropriate.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!