Our list for 30 low-cost or free ideas on ensuring a productive and happy workforce.
Looking after your employees’ physical, mental and emotional health is critical to ensure a productive and happy workforce.
And the good news is, you don’t have to invest in a high-cost low-reward corporate programme that doesn’t suit your business or your people. The days of one-size-fits-all for employee benefit schemes are long gone, and there are now more ways than ever to show your staff that you and your business cares about them.
Boredom and stress at work can easily lead to unhealthy snacking, which in turn can affect your employees’ health, happiness and productivity. For a couple of pounds a week, introduce a fruit bowl to the office kitchen, or even look into office snack delivery services.
Take a poll of your staff – does anyone wish you had a wider range of drinks options? Dairy intolerant employees could really appreciate a carton of soy milk in the fridge – it’s a small way to show you care about your team.
Standing desks are becoming more and more popular in UK offices, and there’s good reason. They’ve been shown to reduce obesity, risk of heart disease and back pain as well as improve mood, energy levels and productivity at work*.
During big projects, it can be super motivating for the boss to order in lunch for the whole team. It’s a chance for your staff to de-stress and socialise with their colleagues, which can lead to new ideas on your latest project.
5. Consider a health screening service
Health Screening or Health Assessments are a great way to promote healthy lifestyles, and help your employees identify any health risks they need to be aware of. There’s a huge range of options on the market today, which mean you can choose a screening option that fits with your needs and budget.
Does your meeting or ‘collaboration’ space consist of a desk and a couple of chairs? This isn’t necessarily an environment that’s going to inspire your team, or encourage creativity. Ask around the office for ideas of how to make the space work better for your staff – maybe it’s a couple more comfy chairs, or a whiteboard to draw ideas on.
Flexible working hours allow your staff to take some control over their day. The good news is that you don’t have to adopt a completely flexible system. Even if it’s just 30 minutes leeway at the start and end of the day, your staff will appreciate the flexibility, and your business won’t suffer as a result.
Encouraging your employees to develop and better themselves is beyond important, in fact 75% of employees state they want opportunities for career growth. If you’re on a budget, this doesn’t have to be thousands of pounds of professional development courses. You could simply look into offering membership to online training hubs, or even just subscribe to industry magazines. Small gestures can go a long way.
It could be once a day, week or month. Walking meetings are shown to increase creativity, communication between different levels of seniority and make your employees happier.
10. Consider an Occupational Health Plan
Occupational health looks at the effects of work on your employees’ physical and mental health. Good occupational health plans can help you to reduce employee absence and increase retention and productivity.
Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit help your staff monitor their fitness levels, at work and at home. At a cost of less than £100 each, these could be a unique benefit that highlights your care for your employees’ physical health.
A team baking or cooking contest is a great way to encourage the team to bond and socialise and get some delicious food at the same time!
This tiny change can be a really attractive benefit, and immensely appreciated. Do your staff really put in 100% effort at work on their birthday anyway? Would it truly impact the business to let your employee go and celebrate as they choose?
Research has shown that up to 80% of work lunches are eaten at desks which is not healthy! Encouraging your staff to get away from the office at lunch time can reduce stress, increase productivity and creativity, whilst reducing the risk of burnout.
15. Offer Private Medical Insurance
Minimise employee absence and encourage a healthy, happy workforce by offering private medical insurance as an employee benefit. There are a huge range of policies on the market, which means you can pick something that’s completely tailored to your business needs, and your budget. Plus with a choice of employer or employee funded schemes, you can control how much your business spends on this benefit.
As an added bonus, many private medical insurance schemes now include additional extras such as discounted gym memberships to stop smoking schemes, these add to an appreciated employee benefit.
90% of people perform better at work when listening to music. Research by Quartz has even looked into what kind of music you should be playing for specific tasks, so you have no excuse for not setting up some speakers:
We’ve all worked a hot summer’s day when it seems like everyone in the office is gazing out the windows, dreaming of getting off at 5pm and enjoying the sunshine. On days like this, there’s a good chance your productivity is down anyway – so why not show your team some appreciation and announce a impromptu half day?
Ask yourself – unless your staff are client-facing, do they really need to be in smart business attire? Would you staff be more comfortable and creative is they could dress smart-casual, or even enjoy a dress down Friday once a week?
It might sound like a tiny change, but having plants in your office is proven to reduce employee stress and absence, whilst increasing productivity. We’ve found the easiest ones to care for in an office (that are less likely to die over the weekend) are Aloe Vera, Cacti, Succulents and Peace Lilies.
20. Offer an Employee Cash Plan
Cash Plans are often regarded as the affordable alternative and highly valued benefit in the world of employee benefits. For a low cost, you can offer your staff help with their everyday medical, optical and dental costs. Some cash plans can even provide your staff with access to alternative therapies including acupuncture and reflexology.
Focus on your team-building by offering team lunches for the ‘big occasions’ – it’s a great way to welcome a new staff member and celebrate project completions, plus it’s a good chance for senior members to socialise with the rest of the group.
The government-backed cycle to work scheme is an easy way to encourage your employees to stay active while reducing the environmental impact of their commutes. The scheme allows employers to loan bikes and cycle equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. This gives employees the chance to own a top of the range bike at a fraction of the normal cost.
Too many offices let work anniversaries go by with no acknowledgement. If a staff member has spent 1, 5 or even 10 years of their time working at your company, say thank you! A quick note from the boss, director or even CEO is a personal touch that can go a long way.
From putting up family photos to inspirational pictures, allowing your staff to get creative with their desks and surrounding areas can increase productivity, along with positive attitudes towards their job.
25. Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme
Employee Assistance Programmes (or EAPs) are a type of benefit that helps your employees with any personal problems they have outside of work. From counselling to online advice portals, these are designed to support your employees through any mental, financial or relationship difficulties that might be affecting their productivity and wellbeing.
As well as offering staff-discounts on products you may sell, consider other small ‘perks’ that could add to an attractive benefits package, and highlight your company as a great employer. Some companies offer TV and magazine subscriptions, babysitting and cinema tickets – ask your employees what they would like.
A hot drinks station can be great way to encourage your staff to take regular breaks and get social during the working day. With the average UK business spending around £270 per year by offering free tea and coffee to their staff, this relatively low-cost benefit can go a long way.
Taking 2 minutes a week to write an inspirational quote, company success or individual success on a whiteboard can inspire employee engagement and motivation.
Recognising your employees’ achievements makes a huge difference to their motivation and happiness at work. It could be a formal rewards scheme, or even just a company-wide email thanking a team for their effort on a recent project – little shows of appreciation can go a long way.
30. Think about Group Risk benefits
Group risk are types of employee benefits that provide staff and their families with financial protection in serious circumstances. From Income Protection policies that will help if an employee is unable to work due to long-term sickness or illness, to Critical Illness and Death In Service plans, these show your employees that you’re there for them whatever happens.
Offering employee benefits or business health insurance makes your organisation stronger. Showing your employees you care can be a valuable motivational tool, increasing positivity and staff retention. What’s more, it can attract key talent to your company, helping your business grow and thrive.
Chase Templeton can guide you to a business health solution that will appeal to staff while remaining cost effective for you. Get in touch to find out more.