How to Help Employees Feel Young Again
HR professionals know this to be true: Bonuses, company perks and paid days off won’t keep employees happy and productive year round.
Previous research in the HR field has supported the implementation of health and wellness programs as they have shown to increase employee productivity and engagement and reduce employee turnover.
A new study, “It Matters How Old You Feel: Antecedents and Performance Consequences of Average Relative Subjective Age in Organizations” suggests that employees are more productive and successful when they feel younger than they actually are, introducing a new element to traditional health and wellness initiatives.
The researchers found that for organizations where employees felt younger than their actual age, productivity increased. The “youthful” employees focused more on their professional development and growth, which ramped up their work production and morale. These employees were more likely to work harder with a long term vision in the company. Previous behavioral research supports the notion that merely “feeling younger” is correlated with increased energy and productivity.
So how do you rewind the clock and get your employees feeling younger than their chronological age to benefit the entire performance of the company?
Focus on three areas of improvement: the health of your employees, your workplace environment and emphasizing work-life balance to your employees.
We’ve formulated a list of ways you can help deliver the fountain of youth to your employees:
1. Create a Healthier Workplace
What’s the best way to get employees feeling young again? Get their bodies feeling young again! Provide healthy foods, nutritional education and fitness opportunities to lower healthcare costs and boost performance.
- Get your cafeteria in line with Partnership for a Healthier America guidelines.
- Offer healthy food vending machines.
- Place healthy-eating tips on tables.
- Offer memberships to full-service gyms.
- Provide exercise equipment in suitable locations, where possible, for employees to use during their breaks.
- Develop trails near your workplace and encourage employees to walk or jog during break times.
- Incentivize workplace exercise initiatives to reward those who participate.
Motivate and Educate
- Arrange lunch-and-learn sessions, webinars, etc. on nutrition awareness and exercise.
- Create a stress-reduction workshop.
- Provide a quiet room with comfortable seating and soft music for relaxation during breaks.
- Offer a 24/7 health hotline or an online medical opinion service at no cost.
- Build a 10 ft. x 10 ft. health kiosk for personal employee use. Include blood pressure cuff, weight scales, health brochures and other helpful resources.
- Bring in a motivational speaker.
- Pick voluntary benefits that keep your employees happy and healthy.
2. Revamp the Work Environment
Design experts believe that “playful” features can improve productivity and moods among employees. Try implementing an office ergonomics program that can sync with a youthful atmosphere to inspire creativity and increase morale.
- Equip a break area with basketball hoops (Nerf® would be fine), ping-pong tables, boxing bags or other recreational equipment.
- Use wallpaper, paint or furniture in certain areas to promote playfulness and improve moods.
- Play music.
- Add basketball hoops, horseshoe pitching stations, walking trails and other recreational activities.
- Encourage employees to eat lunch outside or take a walk around the building!
3. Emphasize Work-Life Balance
Your employees don’t need to be young, wild and free—but they can feel young and free outside of work! Emphasizing work-life balance will keep your employees engaged day to day and with the help of technology, employees don’t necessarily have to be behind their desks to get their work done.
- Provide work-from-home hours each week.
- Get flexible with the archaic “9 am to 5 pm” workday and offer additional time frames.
- Offer paid maternity and paternity leave for 8 to 10 weeks minimum. Nobody needs time to rejuvenate like new parents!
- Extend your time-off package with a few more vacation or personal days.
As the workplace grows older, organizations should commit to making their employees feel more youthful to reap the rewards of feeling forever young.
Next: Read our article, The ROI of Healthy Employees, to learn how you can make an impact on your employees’ health!