Your staff is the most important asset to your business.

When they’re happy, content and healthy, they’re also creative, motivated and engaged. When they aren’t, as well as being disengaged, you’ll notice increases in sick leave and employee turnover. So basically, for a business to thrive, it’ll need thriving employees.

Research found that inactivity and poor diet are the leading cause of disease and disability, and in the workplace, this amounts to increased absences which cost the IRISH economy upwards of €1.5 billion per year.

So, to combat this, we’ve seen increases in the number of employers now investing in various wellbeing programmes.

In this piece, we’ll highlight other benefits of a healthy workforce and explore some options for encouraging healthy living amongst your staff.

Benefits of healthy employees

Simply put, healthy employees are good for business. Apart from the obvious benefit which is fewer absences, there’re many other advantages for both employees and employers.

Among the most popular benefits are:

Improved productivity: Studies have found that employees with unhealthy habits are causing substantially higher levels of lost productivity in the workplace. While healthy workers are 3.1 times more productive and have 9 times fewer sick days off work. Therefore, healthier employees are shown to regularly outperform employees in organisations that don’t promote health and wellbeing.

Turnover and recruitment: Keeping your existing employees requires much more than an attractive pay package. They need to know that you care about them, their physical and mental wellbeing. With initiatives created to support a healthy lifestyle, employees are loyal and willing to stay longer in your organisation. In terms of recruiting, there are a variety of factors that contribute to an employee accepting or rejecting a job offer. Organisations are now battling each other to attract and retain the best talents in their field and those with wellbeing programmes have testified to the difference it makes to their recruitment efforts.

Teamwork and collaboration: Happy and healthy employees are not only more productive but they’re also able to collaborate amongst themselves. By focusing on the wellbeing of your employees you’re fulfilling their individual needs, which can the foster successful collaborations based on clear communication and mutual trust.

Engagement: With staff spending most of their day in the workplace, it’s important to ensure they’re engaged while they’re there. Similar to productivity, when your staff are happy with their job and their position within your organisation and feeling their best mentally and physically, it positively affects their health.

Financial implications: Finally, like we touched on in the intro, the costs of absenteeism, presenteeism, sick absences, recruiting, training recruits to a business and the economy as a whole can be massive. By encouraging and supporting the healthy lifestyles of your workforce, you’re reducing the risk of acquiring these costs which you can then put back into the business.

Supporting employee wellbeing

Healthy lifestyles aren’t just about offering free fruit or only focusing on their physical health. It’s the whole package. It is their mental, emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing.

Consider the following options for supporting your employee’s wellbeing lifestyles:

Employee assistance programmes (EAP): These are employee benefit programmes that can help your staff address personal and professional issues that might affect their productivity or work performance. An effective EAP programme will include provisions for counselling, risk assessments and referral services.

Encourage physical activities: It’s not surprising to learn that remaining stagnant for extended periods of time can have detrimental effects on your staff’s health. You can combat this by providing certain amenities that’ll encourage your staff members to be more active around the workplace. For example, consider implementing a cycle to work schemes or offering subsidised gym memberships. You can also invest in standing desks to help lower blood sugar levels and back pain which is amongst the most common complaint from office-based employees.

Company culture: The culture of your organisation is one that can either foster healthy living or hinder it. Your culture is the informal code of practice within your organisation. It’s the personality of your company, it defines the environment in which your employee work. Various elements contribute to your company culture including the company’s values, ethics, expectations and goals. The initiatives you offer go a long way to establishing your culture. With family orientated benefits, allowances for flexible working and open communication, you’re taking steps to create happy and healthy employees.

Mental health: According to, at any given time, one in six people will experience mental ill-health. While stress is common and can even work in our favour sometimes, when left unchecked, it can develop into other underlying mental health conditions. And when this occurs, they’re likely to take time off from work to recover which will increase the workload of your other staff which can then go on to affect their morale and motivation.

Family-friendly policies: By implementing policies that account for the pressures of your family life, you’re showing your staff that you care about their wellbeing. It highlights your commitment to ensuring a healthy work-life balance and allow your employees to balance the pressures of work and family life.