Company Blog

Staying Healthy in the Workplace

Health within the workplace is an easy way to help keep employees motivated with their own goals, while also creating a vibrant and happy environment. Health doesn’t only pertain to physical nature, either. Emotional and mental health can be equally as important, which can be aided through a great company culture. According to “The Business Case for a Healthy Workplace,” a case study created by Joan Burton, Senior Strategy Advisor, Healthy Workplaces, IAPA,  a healthy workplace is defined through three methods: physical work environment, organizational culture, and personal health resources. Each one is directly correlated with one another because the employees’ minds, bodies, and spirits must all be intact in order for them to perform at its greatest potential. Healthy optimizations in the workplace can span from kitchen snacks to office design, and all lend themselves to a more productive, positive work environment.

Physical Work Environment

One of the best ways to encourage healthy living in the workplace is to set your office up for success. Physically optimized workspaces can lead to a 22% employee performance increase, which can be accomplished through organization, design, and tidiness.  At Underground Elephant, our open office layout encourages a lot of walking, whether to the conference rooms or the espresso bar at the other end of the space. We have also established several areas throughout the space for employees to stand and work, giving them the opportunity to get away from their desks.  Gretchen Reynolds, the New York Times Phys Ed columnist explains a simple practice of standing up every 20 minutes that can improve your longevity. “That sounds so simple but that actually has profound consequences. If you can stand up every 20 minutes — even if you do nothing else — you change how your body responds physiologically.” Having an organized space increases with at least some natural light is key as well. Our ground floor location means lots of windows with natural light.

Organizational Culture

As addressed in Burton’s case study, the second factor for creating a healthy workplace is through company culture. We find this step to be incredibly important as a company, and even have a Culture Team whose purpose is to asfasf. One of the cornerstones of our culture is the Forum Program, which brings employees together in cross departmental groups to participate in fun activities throughout the year. Initiatives like this are a good way to create camaraderie, improve morale, and motivate employees in the workplace. At UE, we also believe it’s important for employees to have a voice, which helps the organizational culture from the ground up. We have frequent surveys, company meetings, and even a Thought Leader program that give employees the chance to express opinions and be recognized. All of this contributes to the positive atmosphere in our office.

Personal Health Resources

In alignment with establishing a healthy workspace and culture, personal employee health optimizations are also important to creating a healthy work environment. This can be accomplished through healthy office snacks, group fitness activities, or even holding walking meetings. A few weeks ago, we launched “Health and Fitness Month,” which encourages employees to participate in company activities that are beneficial for their wellness. Activities have included yoga, barre and spin classes, a nutritious cooking course, and visits from local Kombucha and juice vendors. Our kitchen fridge is also filled with healthy breakfast and snack options, such as fresh fruit and healthy cereals.  Implementing a “health month” at your company can help to motivate employees and make them feel better about their choices, which is especially inspiring after the sometimes-gluttonous holidays.

These three practices can help keep the workplace happy by maintaining and improving the individual’s overall health. If these theories are practiced among each individual, it becomes a collective effort and is displayed throughout the whole workplace.Of course, once each employee is reacting at this high-performing level, the whole company benefits and grows together.