Healthy Employees are Happy Employees: Here’s How to Make it Happen


If you care about your employees, or at least care about their productivity, a healthy workplace culture is something you should be fostering as an employer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. businesses suffer $226 billion in productivity losses annually that are attributable to absenteeism in the workplace. Promoting good health at work can not only increase the productivity of your employees, but can also be a way an employer shows they care for their employees, leading to lower turnover as well.

A healthy lifestyle

Local Eye Site is a small business, which admittedly makes it easier to have influence on the majority of our employees.  But we take seriously our commitment to inspire healthy lifestyles. A recent anonymous survey of Local Eye Site employees found that:

  1. 100% of our employees get at least moderate exercise 3-4 days per week, and 71% exercise 5-7 days per week.
  2. 67% said “most of the time” they make “healthy food choice and portion size” selections when eating, and 33% said they “always” make healthy food choices.
  3. No one smokes on our team.
  4. Employees listed “stress reducing” activities they practice regularly as socializing, laughing, physical activity, getting enough sleep, being organized, giving back and practicing spirituality. Local Eye Site occasionally serves together at places like Habit for Humanity.
  5. 100% of LES employees said that our workplace culture has influenced them to lead a more healthy lifestyle.

Influence good health

You’re probably wondering how we encourage these healthy lifestyle choices.  Here are 5 ways we influence good health.

  1. We encourage physical activity in several ways:
    • We chose an office within walking distance of multiple gyms.
    • We often workout in groups, over lunch.
    • We provide enough time at lunch so that workouts are easy to fit in.
    • We’ve paid for gym memberships for our employees.
    • Our office location enables some employees to walk or ride a bike to work, and 50% of our workforce lives close enough to the office to walk or bike. We have a bike rack in our office.
  2. We encourage healthy eating by providing a kitchen in our office so that employees can prepare or bring food instead of always eating out. We also eat lunches together regularly. Good food choices by some influence the others.
  3. We provide unlimited sick days as a benefit, so that employees will get fully well before they come back to work. “Presenteeism,” coming back to work before you’re well, accounts for nearly 2/3s of worker illness cost according to the Harvard Business Review.
  4. A “work to live,” as opposed to “live to work,” mentality is pushed from the top down. We don’t put employees in a situation where they have to work nights and/or weekends in order to get their jobs done well.
  5. Part of being healthy is being happy. We believe we can impact our employees happiness by making sure they know they’re valued, appreciated and trusted. We hire talented, self-starters that don’t need to be micro-managed. We recognize a job well done, including providing an online system where employees can recognize one another’s contributions. We take company retreats whenever possible to bond and work through more challenging issues.

It’s never too late

Companies that have strong safety, health and environmental programs outperform the S&P 500 by between 3-5%. This is a good enough reason to get serious about a healthy workplace, but genuinely caring about the well-being of the people that make your company go is an even better one. Take a step today to inspire good health practices by your employees.  It starts at the top!

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