August 05, 2014 Business Resources

How Quality of Life Factors Influence the Workplace

Years ago, quality of life in the workplace meant that the work environment was a physically safe and non-threatening place to be. Today, workplace quality of life has evolved to include work/life balance. It’s a concern for any employer, because time and again, studies show that employees who are healthy—both physically and emotionally—are more productive, and that improves a business’s bottom line.

At the heart of employee productivity are a few universal factors: nutrition, rest, human engagement, physical movement and exercise, and mental and intellectual challenge. Because many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, how we feel about our jobs is as important as how we feel about our personal lives. As well, any physical issues that we have, like chronic pain, headaches, or low energy, carry over into our jobs and affect our productivity.

What is work/life balance?
But what does “work/life balance” really mean? While many interpretations exist, generally it is a state of well-being in which a person can manage his or her job responsibilities along with at-home obligations. It means having time and energy to fulfill family and community obligations without negative physical or emotional impacts or undue stress.

Ultimately, employees will be drawn to and stay with organizations that afford them adequate work/life balance and personal satisfaction. Studies show that when a workplace provides good work/life balance, it can also result in:

  • reduced absenteeism
  • increased productivity
  • improved morale
  • decreased stress

As an employer, the first step for improving work/life balance is to assess your employees’ needs. This can be different for every workplace, and it even varies from employee to employee. If you run a small business or organization, try interviewing your employees one-on-one to see what they are looking for in a positive workplace environment. If you’re running a larger organization, conduct a formal survey to get this information. The Centers for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has performed ongoing surveys about what workers consider to be the most important quality of life factors for the workplace. To get an idea of what kinds of questions you might want to ask, check out this copy of the NIOSH survey.

Encourage fitness and healthy lifestyles
Health and wellness are a huge part of workplace quality of life. Employers have several options for encouraging workplace wellness, including CDPHP health and wellness programs, which are designed to help your employees feel their best.

Other CDPHP wellness offerings that are focused on improving employee health include employee health education tools, personalized support, disease management programs, fitness and healthy lifestyle apps, and more.

Benefits and paid time off
Some employers fear that generous paid time off may make for an unproductive workplace, but that’s not the case. Of course, you need your employees to be present, but numerous studies have shown that relaxed employees are productive employees. As well, when employees don’t have enough sick time, they are compelled to come to work even if they’re not well. This can lead to spreading colds and flu throughout the workplace, which translates to more employee sick time, not less.

Every business is different. That’s why CDPHP offers a variety of affordable insurance plans. Our EPO, PPO, HMO, high deductible, and self-insured plans provide options for every employer and every individual. One of the keys to workplace quality of life is employees feeling secure in the knowledge that the health insurance the employer provides will meet their needs. You can select a business health plan that includes everything from lifestyle riders to flexible spending accounts.

Foster employee morale
Most of us have experienced times when we were sad, even depressed or lonely, and it had a negative impact on our overall health. Stress in the workplace can be a major contributor to those feelings, so it’s important that employers do what they can to help employees feel positively about their jobs and the people with whom they work. While some employers think that employees are paid to work, not socialize, it’s been shown that happy employees are more productive, engaged, and loyal to their companies. So, plan some morale-boosting outings, or have the first Friday of each month be pizza day and bring in lunch for your staff. You can do small, but fun, things that won’t break the bank, and they could go a long way in making your staff work harder toward your bottom line.

Suzanne Huwe
About the Author

Suzanne is senior editor for the corporate communications department at CDPHP. Prior, she worked as a national campaign coordinator at the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, DC, and as a copy editor and special sections editor at The Tampa Tribune. Suzanne earned a bachelor’s in economics from SUNY Fredonia and a master’s in multimedia journalism from American University. When she’s not fine-tuning others’ writing and her own, Suzanne enjoys running, traveling, scuba diving, and hanging out with her dogs and husband.

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