Investing in Your Staff's Happiness and Wellbeing

When discussing an employee's wellbeing, it's easy to fall into the trap of saying "I pay them a fair wage, don't I? This is an office, not a dayspa!"

In the short term, this attitude does make sense. Your employees are here to make a living, not to have fun and relax. In the long term, this attitude can cost you a lot of money. More than a few studies have proven that an employee's mental and emotional condition will have a direct effect on their physical condition. In particular, a stressed employee is at a much greater risk of injury than an employee who's being met with enough challenge to remain interested, but not so much that they're being overwhelmed by their responsibilities at work.

Here are some tips to keep your employees in good shape:

  • Hire enough people. Paying one employee to do the work of two employees seems like a great way to save money, right up until they get hurt on the job and they decide to sue you for more than worker's comp.
  • Give people adequate time off. Most people don't live to work, we work to live. If you won't let an employee clock out early to deal with a family emergency, they're going to be too distracted to do their job correctly anyway. This goes for people who want to put in that overtime, as well. It's nice to have someone who's eager to see if they can pull off five 16 hour days in a row, but it's not smart to let them.
  • Make people feel valued. Send out holiday and birthday gifts to your employees, buy everyone lunch now and then, let them know how important they are to the company. By engendering goodwill, you can not only boost the mood at the office, but make sure that if someone does get injured on the job, they won't see it as an opportunity to settle a grudge they have against you.

Again, people come to the office to work, not to party and hang out. But from a strictly financial point of view, a happy worker is a healthy worker, and a healthy worker doesn't cost you anything more than the wages agreed upon in the contract (and maybe a gift certificate to the Olive Garden once a year when their birthday rolls around).

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