The World Health Organisation defines a healthy workplace as one where employees and managers collaborate to protect the safety, health, and well-being of all employees in the workplace through:
- Promoting health and safety in the physical work environment
- Promoting well-being in the psychosocial work environment
- Providing personal health resources
- Engagement in the community
You might think that these factors that make up a healthy workplace are intuitive and reasonable. Many companies have programmes in play to support the points above. While that may be true, it is often the little things that complete the picture to a truly healthy workplace.
Take the Emergenetics Asia Pacific (EGA) office as an example. As a company, we try as much as possible to fulfil the abovementioned factors to achieve a happy and healthy workplace for our co-workers in the office. Yet it is often the people on the ground that make all the difference to actually realising these goals. Let us share how we as a team, help to create a happy and healthy workplace for all of us.
Living the Healthy Lifestyle in the Office
We often encourage our colleagues to lead a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise. Weekly, we have a team that gathers at a basketball court nearby to engage in some friendly ball game (Captain’s Ball) with a neighbour company. This has encouraged not only a healthy lifestyle, but has also established great team bonding.
Occasionally, someone would come up with a new club to pool together like-minded individuals who have a common health goal. Recently, some of our teammates set up a “Let’s Grind” club that encourages its participants to achieve their ideal weight goal. The incentive? A wonderful coffee maker for the office to enjoy their achievement!
Exercise is not the only way we promote healthy living. We also help each other to instill positive habits through monthly challenges such as “Drink 1.5 liters of water during office hours” and “No usage of mobile phones during lunch!” These challenges help our colleagues to be mindful of everyday habits and encourage each other to be steadfast in achieving their goals. As they say, it takes 30 days to form a habit!
Being Mentally Fit
Physicality is not the only factor in achieving great health. With increasing pressures and stress of city-living, there is a greater need to ensure that we have a healthy mental and psychosocial well-being.
Allowing our teammates to express themselves in a safe environment, helps in ensuring that their mental well-being is thought of. We do so in several ways:
Reflections as a Way of Expression
Reflections are a great way to help individuals wind down and express their thoughts and feelings. We’ve got an ongoing roster where we take turns to share what we have learnt over the week, or on a reflection piece on one of our core values – Respect, Integrity, Courage and Excellence. This creates a sense of belonging and it constantly brings us back to why we do what we do, and why we love it so much.
The Importance of Downtime
Downtime is a concept we introduced in our company to help employees pull away from office and their day-to-day tasks to take a more holistic approach in their work. Employees can take a couple of hours or even a day off away from the office, whenever they feel they are being in too deep with their tasks. It is a great way to declutter their thoughts and start again with fresh perspectives.
Through the year, regardless of how busy we get, we make sure that we slow down every once in a while, to connect with our values, so that as we recharge, we can continue to do our best to serve with mind and heart.
Peer Coaching for Healthy Feedback
Recently, we started on a new journey called The Heart of Coaching, led by Emergenetics Associate, Ng Choon Seng. The coaching provides us skills and a platform for us to express our delights and concerns with one another in a safe and non-judgmental environment. We receive positive feedback and areas of which we can improve on from our fellow colleagues who act as coaches, and we do the same for our colleagues/coachees. Setting aside time to do this makes learning and understanding deliberate.
Engagement in the Community
Being part of the community and giving back to society is also another great way we have learnt to lead a happy and healthy work environment for our teammates. We do so by organising a corporate social responsibility project each year that involves the entire company.
Two years ago, we ran an initiative called “Impact SG50”, whereby we sponsored Emergenetics Profiles, and where Emergenetics Associates sponsored their time to run workshops for 50 non-profit organisations. It gave us the opportunity to engage the community and open our hearts to do more for others. We saw with our own eyes how these organisations benefitted from such a simple gesture on our part.
Similarly last year, we partnered with South West Community Development Council’s “Let’s Paint-a-VWO @ South West” to make a difference to the beneficiaries of St Luke’s ElderCare, through the painting of colourful wall murals at their centre.
These has helped our colleagues to have a better psychosocial wellbeing in the workplace, by encouraging them to give back to society together.
Making Sure Everyone is Taken Care Of
At the very least, we ensure that each individual does not fall through the cracks and is well taken care of. As workplace pressure continues to mount in today’s fast-moving environment with productivity demands, the increasing pressure to balance work and home lives can take a toll on people’s health, well-being and job satisfaction.
To ensure that everyone is well taken care of, EGA provides a company-wide health check-up to give all of us a clean bill of health. We also arrange health talks by professionals periodically to help address various challenges that the current workface faces.
Office Culture Matters
Through these activities, so much more is done than to just improve productivity among employees. We have built a strong and vibrant organisation culture that supports our people. Providing healthy outlets for staff members minimises workplace stress and plays a significant role in employee retention and optimising the company’s human capital.
As this culture is molded, the positivity that comes out of it creates an affirming environment that we bring home with us as well. We spend a lot of time in the office and going home with a smile on our faces and sharing this joy with our respective families is unquestionably exceptional.
But that’s just the EGA office, I’m sure there are many stories of similar activities and events taking place in different companies! We would love to hear them all! Perhaps we could exchange notes on how to better engage the staff members to promote a healthy workplace.