It has been proven time and time again that leading a lifestyle of exercise and healthy diet equates to better health and improved performance. But performance is such a broad term that it is often misunderstood. When you think about exercise & performance together it is usually about doing your 5km run 10 seconds quicker or getting an extra couple of repetitions out when pumping the guns.
But what about the effect of exercise on workplace performance? Think about it. A healthy employee is likely to be able to focus on tasks for longer, make less mistakes, work the hours required and their commitment to a healthy lifestyle also shows that they are able to stick to a task and not make excuses to avoid it. A healthy diet will fuel the brain for proper functioning which again will lead to better workplace performance.
There have been numerous studies that have shown the beneficial effects of a healthy lifestyle on workplace productivity. One study conducted by Medibank found that workers who have poor health behaviours are likely to have up to 9 times more sick days annually than healthy employees(18 days compared to 2 per year).
So how do you get the most from your employees? Initiatives such as work place health and wellness programs have been shown to not only have significant improvements in employees health which greatly reduces absenteeism. But also a vast economic benefit as a result. In 2005 an analysis of 56 different studies was conducted to help determine the effectiveness of the inclusion of workplace health and wellness programs. It found that on average the cost:benefit ratio resulted in a saving of over US$5 for every US$1 spent on a wellness program.
So the benefit is not only evident for employees as they will receive a great boost in physical and mental health as well as an improved lifestyle. But also for business as they receive economic benefits from reduced absenteeism, decreased presenteeism, increased employee job satisfaction and it can also help attract new employees to business.
For programs such as these to attract the most success, it is important that the CEO, department heads, etc also get involved and lead the initiative from the front, showing their commitment to improving health and improving performance in the workplace and in life.