Of course recruiting the right new employees is incredibly important, but the well-being of your employees is not something to overlook as well. JobnetAfrica's guest blogger Jane Watson wrote a great article about this.
Africa’s working-age population is expected to grow by close to 70% by 2035, according to the World Bank. As job markets become more competitive and increased productivity is required to fuel economic progress, the welfare of the workforce becomes increasingly important. While prioritising employee welfare may raise a company’s expenses, it can be extremely beneficial for employers and employees alike.
When an employee feels that their well-being is a priority, they are bound to not only be happier at work but more productive as well. A satisfied, well looked-after employer is also substantially less-likely to seek alternative employment opportunities, which will allow the employer to enjoy a low employee turnover. The biggest challenge an employer faces is to foster a culture in the workplace that fully supports employee welfare in a range of areas, including comfort and physical and mental health.
Make the office space more ergonomic
One of the simplest ways to improve the welfare of your workforce is to make the office environment as ergonomic as possible. Constant discomfort can not only lead to a drastic reduction in productivity, but serious health concerns as well. By acquiring workstations and chairs that are ergonomically designed, employee comfort can be improved significantly which, in turn, will boost their overall welfare as well. Apart from investing in new furniture, employees can also be encouraged to engage in a number of desk exercises that will keep their muscles supple and their focus sharp.
Encourage frequent exercise and a healthy diet
Physical health is a very important component of employee welfare. There are a number of steps an employer can take to ensure that the workforce is in the best possible health, thus reducing absenteeism and improving productivity. Offering healthy canteen meals and inviting nutritionists to give talks on dietary needs, are good ways to encourage healthy eating while group exercise classes and physical team-building exercises are great to get everyone moving more.
Employees can also be encouraged to invest in a bicycle as a cheap means of transport that also boasts tremendous health benefits. They can even purchase or construct a bicycle stand that will turn an ordinary bicycle into an exercise bike just like the ones you see at the gym. Another great way to get your employees to get active is to step out of the boardroom and opt for walking meetings instead.
Provide mental health support
Despite immense headway being made in terms of development, Africa, for the most part, remains a continent riddled with poverty, social inequality, and political instability. All these factors contribute to the high rate of mental illness that prevails among the general population. There are a number of ways in which an employer can contribute towards the mental well-being of their workforce.
While it is pivotal to provide education with regard to mental health concerns, it is equally important to remove the stigma associated with it. Employee assistance programs that consist of support and counseling services for both occupational and personal stress, is a superb tool to utilize. Employees can also be encouraged to engage in mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation which can help reduce anxiety and stress significantly.
Prioritising employee welfare is of equal importance to both the employer and its workforce. Employees that are both happy and healthy will, after all, not only be more productive but more willing to go the extra mile for their employers as well.
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