wellness plan

By Andy Bailey

Gallup reports that lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion annually.

Morale is a must for American employers.

These four corporate powerhouses certainly got the memo: Google provides nap stations, conference room bikes and free childcare. Zappos offers “Laughter Yoga” classes and massage chairs. Deloitte gives a paid sabbatical for personal growth and Facebook serves free gourmet food at its appropriately titled “Epic Café.”

A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania on the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” shows that companies known for employee satisfaction earn shareholders 3.5 percent higher annual returns than typical industry averages.

From what I’ve seen in the field, these statistics are accurate. Of the nearly 50 companies I coach around the globe, those with pleasing office environments have happier employees and earn higher revenues.

The good news is you don’t need a bulldozer and construction crew or a billion-dollar budget to achieve a more gratifying office environment. Reinvigorate your workplace with these five tips:

  1. Let light in. According to a new study by the Swiss Institute of Technology, people who spend more time in natural than in artificial lighting have increased productivity and alertness. If window seating isn’t an option, urge your team members to spend some time outdoors during their lunch breaks to soak up some vitamin D.
  2. Streamline with technology. Incorporate technology into your office protocols to simplify processes. Better yet, choose multifaceted technology so you can streamline your technology procedures. I attribute the success of my first company largely to the fact that we had an all-encompassing technology system that kept our team organized and aligned, which increased our overall happiness.
  3. Reduce noise. If a handful of your team members like listening to music while they work, make sure they wear headphones. Background noise is more than annoying to other team members — it’s a health risk. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ambient noise increases general stress levels and aggravates stress-related conditions like high blood pressure, coronary disease, peptic ulcers and migraine headaches.
  4. Promote healthy living. I recently started encouraging my team to take time on their lunch breaks to work out and grab some fresh grub. I’ve noticed firsthand that the midday physical activity heightens my team members’ focus. Further, the ability to take time for themselves increases their feeling of balance. Need more incentive? A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health shows that organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness.
  5. Serve appreciative clients. Do some of your clients or customers suck the energy out of your organization? Do those same clients usurp more of your time and money than necessary? Get rid of them. You and your team will be happier and more successful if you dedicate your time to clients you like and who like you back.

An employee-focused workplace isn’t just mumbo-jumbo. It pays to invest in your team members. Give it a try.

Andy Bailey built and sold a multimillion- dollar business and is now lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm Petra Coach and president of Nashville’s EO chapter. Reach him at andy@petracoach.com.