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What Does A Healthy Workplace Constitute?

A healthy workplace will improve employee engagement, motivation and retention. Learn how.

According to the World Health Organisation, a healthy workplace is one where physical, psychological, social, and organisational conditions protect and promote the health and safety of all employees. The latest research from the University of Louisville shows that some likely drivers in workplace culture could impact more than just job choices. More importantly, they could have a significant impact on one’s health. The results of a UofL study connected "biomarkers for chronic disease risk to factors such as stress, employee capacity for work assigned, workplace physical and social environment, and whether we see our work as meaningful."

Topics of burnout, work-life balance, quiet quitting and the Great Resignation have been top of mind for business leaders and employees. As Dr Brad Shuck, Co-Founder at OrgVitals and thought leader in employee engagement, notes, "understanding these links could help both employees and employers make better, more informed decisions that keep everyone healthy and happy in their work environments." 

A healthy workplace is important because it improves productivity, job satisfaction, and employee well-being. A healthy workplace also can reduce absenteeism and turnover, improving morale, engagement and performance.

How is a healthy workplace linked to employee retention? 

When there is a healthy workplace to show up to daily, employees are likely to be happier, be of better physical and mental health and as a result, are more likely to be engaged. While it is not the sole contributing factor towards employee retention, it's worth exploring how positive feelings at work can translate into engagement.

BI WORLDWIDE’s 12 New Rules of Engagement, a framework for employee engagement relevant to present-day concerns, advocates for organisations to help their employees thrive. This means caring for and protecting the employees holistic well-being through regularly re-examining and re-imagining practices that create a sense of community in the workplace. When employees feel like they belong, they are likely to be engaged at work, which can have a positive impact on turnover rate. 

Ways to build a healthy workplace

A better understanding of work determinants of health could help build a healthier work environment. 

1. Implement consistent check-ins

Nearly 40% of employees reported that they did not receive check-ins, indicating the lack of a culture of connection. Managers can build this by intentionally checking in with their employees every now and then. This simple practice can open up lines of communication and help someone who is struggling to voice their concerns. 

2. Be proactive with offering flexibility 

Understanding that employees have commitment outside of work and proactively offering them flexibility around their work schedule can greatly improve their well-being and productivity. Addressing the stressors that employees face can also take a more personal approach. Different situations require varying levels of flexibility. For instance, those who need to pick up their children from school may need to leave the office early. 

3. Celebrate employee achievements 

Employee recognition was found to be most important to 37% of employees in a 2021 survey from Great Place to Work. The surveyed employees found that this motivated them to produce better work more often. Recognising employees’ achievements and milestones makes them feel appreciated, which is essential to overall mental well-being. 

A workplace that approaches culture building with care and empathy will lead to a more committed, motivated workforce, retaining more employees in the long run.

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