Top talent no longer simply look at salary and potential for growth when making their career decisions. Employees are increasingly prioritizing other factors like work-life wellness and healthy office environments. But workplaces that support employee health and wellness aren’t just recruitment tools. Office health can impact employee morale and productivity — and is essential to your company’s overall success.

Here are seven top tips that can help you create a healthier workplace — and, in turn, healthier, happier, and more productive employees:

    1. Stock the office kitchen or pantry with healthy snacks and beverages like fresh fruit and herbal tea, rather than candy, chips, and soda.

      Making sure employees have access to healthy food and drink options helps reduce the temptation for sugary snacks and beverages. This not only helps employees make healthy eating choices that can reduce their risk of health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity, but also helps employees avoid the spikes and drops in energy that come with eating foods that release their glucose quickly.

 

    1. Consider bringing in a specialist to offer yoga and meditation classes before work or during lunch. In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, mindfulness training has been shown to improve focus and cognitive performance. Encouraging mindfulness training among your employees through yoga and/or meditation not only has the potential to improve employee mental health, but also to improve their work performance.

 

    1. Design your office layout so that common necessities — like the printing room, kitchen area, and filing or supply areas — are in one central location. While fitness programs and gym membership benefits are one way of promoting employee physical activity, subtle changes in office arrangement can help make sure employees are incorporating more movement throughout their day, whether they’re able to join a more structured workout program or not.

 

    1. Offer active workstations such as treadmill or standing desks. No amount of exercise can counteract the negative effects of sitting nonstop all day, according to the American Heart Association. Too much sitting can put employees at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Offering alternative workstations can help employees avoid these harmful health effects. Regular exercise can also improve energy levels, raise your mood, and lower stress and anxiety, according Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

 

    1. Make sure water is readily available and visible throughout throughout the office, either by offering multiple fountains or water coolers with filtered water. According to the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Building Standard, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of buildings around the globe that impact the health and wellness, many employees may suffer from dehydration without realizing it. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, dry skin and headaches, among other issues. Providing ample access to water will help reduce employee dehydration and support healthier, happier employees.

 

    1. Utilize natural light as much as possible. Northwestern University study recently showed a strong relationship between daylight exposure at work and employee sleep and quality of life. IWBI also notes natural light can support employees’ mood and alertness. As a result, it’s important to arrange your office to maximize the accessibility of natural light for as many employees as possible.

 

  1. Add some new life to the office with plants.  Plants have both psychological and physical benefits that can help with productivity and focus in the workplace. Studies show that plants can not only improve air quality, but also positively impact the environment resulting in stress reduction, improved performance on cognitive tasks and more positive moods.

With a few simple changes, employers can drastically improve the health of their office and employees, creating a more pleasant and productive workplace for all.