Is Your Office Culture Counterproductive to Employee Health?

Employee health can be critical to a business’ productivity and efficiency. Healthy employees can mean fewer sick days, increased enthusiasm, and increased productivity, and can increase everything from a company’s culture to their bottom line. To increase employee health, many companies are instituting practices that promote wellness. However, official policies are only as effective as a company’s culture allows them to be; a positive company culture can increase success, while a negative or counterproductive culture can undo any efforts. Below are a few signs that your office culture may be counterproductive to employee health.
 


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Excessive Hours
 
Sticking to a strict 40-hour workweek isn’t always possible, and it’s not necessarily unreasonable to ask employees to put in extra hours now and then in order to meet deadlines. The problem, however, is when early mornings, late nights, and working lunches are the standard expectation instead of the occasional exception. On the surface, it may seem that longer hours means increased productivity, but it can actually mean quite the opposite – especially in the long run.
 
Putting excessive demands on your employees’ time can lead to increased stress, exhaustion, and even depression, all of which can lead to burned-out employees and an unproductive workplace. In addition, it can also take a toll on your employees’ physical health by denying them time to exercise and encouraging fast and unhealthy meals.
 
Pressure to Come in When Sick
 
When an employee calls in sick, it can create additional stress and pressure on co-workers, particularly when project deadlines are looming. However, having sick employees come in to work anyway can cause even more disruption and productivity loss in the long-run. Instead of taking a day or two to rest and heal before returning to work healthy and rejuvenated, coming to work when ill – a practice known as “presenteeism” – can lead to an employee who is physically present but unproductive for an extended period. Plus, the rest of the office experiences an increased exposure to germs and illness.
 
Despite this, many offices still discourage employees from taking sick days. This may be in the form of official policies, with limited sick days offered or management explicitly stating that employees must make every effort to come in, even when sick. This pressure to come in may also be strongly implied in a way that discourages employees from calling in, even if official policy discourages presenteeism. This behavior not only disrupts productivity and puts employees’ physical health at stake, but can also create resentment towards management. A better solution to limiting sick days and absent employees is to enact policies that encourage healthier employees, such as a corporate walking program from Walkingspree.
 
Overemphasizing Competition
 
Friendly competition can be beneficial in an office environment, sparking motivation and turning increased productivity into a game. However, there is a distinction between friendly competition and the point where the competition is no longer friendly. Too much competitiveness can discourage teamwork and even become hostile, creating an environment that’s combative instead of cooperative. This can lead to an overall negative office environment that increases stress and can threaten the mental – and even physical – health of employees.
 
There are some who enjoy and are inspired by competition. However, there will be others in your office who thrive on an environment of cooperation and teamwork and feel demoralized and isolated in an overly competitive environment. Keep the competitiveness in your workplace light-hearted and enjoyable. Try focusing the competition on meeting goals rather than beating coworkers. Corporate wellness programs also create opportunities for extracurricular competitions – such as sports or fitness goals outside of the office or on company field days – as well as social team-building activities for those who prefer them.
 
At Walkingspree, we provide superior corporate wellness solutions centered on the numerous benefits of our corporate walking program. Our customized health and fitness solutions combine advanced monitoring and tracking technology with the built-in-fun of motivating incentives, rewards, and social interactions for programs that result in high engagement, healthier employees, and positive ROI. To learn more about the significant benefits that your company and your employees can realize with our corporate walking program, contact Walkingspree today.

2012-12-11T19:48:46+00:00