Creating a healthy working environment is just plain good business

Feature | 12 January 2021

Everyone wants to be happy. This includes at home and at work. But creating a healthy working environment isn’t just nice for your employees. It also makes good business sense.

The research

A healthy workplace environment is a huge influence on employee motivation and happiness and impacts how productive and efficient workers are. But the Australian Pay Experience Report, conducted by Hanover Research, shows that 38% of Australian workers are unsatisfied with their current jobs. Additionally, the report found that nearly half of Australian workers (44%) are actively looking for a new job, and an additional 29% say that while they aren’t actively looking, they’re open to new opportunities.

Dissatisfied workers are not happy workers. Dissatisfied workers aren’t productive or efficient. And dissatisfied workers tend to look for new jobs, increasing turnover and diverting resources to training new staff that could be used elsewhere in your organisation. At the end of the day, dissatisfied workers are just plain bad business.

So, how do we ensure that our workers are happy? By creating a healthy, happy working environment. Here’s how.

Focus on your culture

Every organisation has its own workplace culture that creates a standard and even a vibe for your employees. Culture is the indefinable thing that makes your company work, and the attitudes and norms that govern what is acceptable and what is not.

Focusing on your culture means ensuring that every decision you make, every employee you hire and every resource you spend is all in line with, and in furtherance of, that workplace culture. For MATE, that comes down to a central idea of ‘mateship’. And for us, that means all our decisions are in line with furthering that central idea, from hiring the right ‘fit’ candidates to ensuring we build connections and engagement between our employees within the office environment.

We do this by having a family lunch every day, by creating opportunities to engage with each other at coffee mornings and external events and by having a dedicated gym for our employees to keep healthy together. But what you do will be determined by your own workplace culture. And that will keep your particular employees feeling satisfied.

Create opportunities for wellness

Your employees are your best assets. And it just makes sense to take care of them. Putting effort into employee wellness decreases sick days, inefficiencies and workplace accidents. It also increases mental health, productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

Our gym is one way that we do this. But we also encourage our employees to organise their working days flexibly, so they can pick up their kids from school, or attend extracurricular activities (for themselves or their children). Wellness is about both physical and mental health, and we look to cater to both.

Your own approach might vary from ours, but you should think of ways that you can encourage the health and wellness of your employees. Perhaps a weekly yoga session or a dedicated day off to spend time volunteering at their favourite charity. Anything that can encourage a healthy lifestyle among your team.

Be supportive

Being supportive is crucial to helping your employees feel satisfied. At MATE, we do this in part by helping our employees tailor their own careers. We give them opportunities and self-direction to choose additional training and educational modules. And we ensure they have the time and resources to pursue these. Most of all, we engage each employee via one-on-one meetings so we can understand the needs of our staff, and ensure that they’re being met. And if they aren’t we fix them.

Finally, we have an open-door policy at MATE. We are here for our staff, to listen and problem solve, no matter what the situation is. We want to support them both in their work-life as well as their home life, to ensure they feel accepted and valued as a part of our team family.

Takeaway

A healthy workplace environment where your employees are satisfied and happy is great for business. And ensuring that you have one isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Just focus on your culture and the wellness of your team, and ensure that you’re readily available and always supportive. Those are the keys to a healthy working environment.