How to help your employees stick to their New Year’s Resolutions
16th January 2020
Research has shown that around one-quarter of people give up their New Year’s Resolutions after just one week and fewer than one in 10 keep up their goal until the end of the year.
In a survey by YouGov, some of the most popular resolutions for Brits to make are exercising more/improving fitness (47%), losing weight (44%), improving diet (41%), saving more money (31%), taking up a new hobby (18%), cutting down on drinking alcohol (16%), giving up smoking/vaping (14%) spending more time with family (11%) and volunteering or doing charity work (6%). However, in the same survey, only 24% of those surveyed said they stuck to their new year’s resolutions in 2019.
Timothy Pychyl, Professor of Psychology at Carleton University, states, in one article, that when people do break their new year’s resolutions, they experience anxiety, stress and low self-worth due to feeling like they have failed. These feelings can impact our personal and work life as physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include trouble concentrating, persistent tiredness, difficulty in decision making and increased procrastination, which can all result in reduced productivity.
Therefore, helping your employees to stick to their resolutions is good for your business as well as your employee’s wellbeing. There are several ways you can help your employees keep their new year’s resolutions year-round, which will help to make for a happier and healthier workforce for 2020.
Ways to help your employees stick to their New Years Resolutions
By far the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are ones that include exercising more, improving fitness, losing weight or just generally getting healthier. Research shows that regular exercise helps to improve mental health as well as helping to make you physically fitter and improving self-esteem. Exercising releases endorphins, the hormone in the brain that makes you feel happy. It also provides people with more energy and helps them sleep better at night, making them more alert throughout the day allowing them to concentrate better. Therefore, encouraging employees to exercise regularly can improve their wellbeing and create a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.
To encourage exercise in your workplace you could offer free or discounted gym memberships. Some gyms offer corporate gym memberships at discounted rates to employers for their employees. If you have the budget you could even create an onsite gym, which you can offer employees free access too. You could arrange for fitness classes to take place in the office at lunchtime, before and after work to encourage employees to stay active, or even arrange running groups or get groups of staff together to attend classes outside of work. Even providing secure bicycle sheds can encourage employees to cycle to work.
Provide healthy treats
Another popular New Year’s Resolution is healthy eating, which also ties in with losing weight. After Christmas, a lot of us feel we need to eat healthier and lose those few extra pounds we put on when indulging during the festive period. Encouraging employees to eat a healthy, balanced diet can not only improve the way they look physically but also their mental health and wellbeing. A healthy diet can help to improve concentration and alertness and also helps to improve employee’s general health, decreasing absences and increasing productivity.
Workplaces such as offices can be full of unhealthy snacks. People bring in cakes, sweets and biscuits to share out and munch on throughout the day, and often people run out to get quick yet unhealthy lunches they can eat at their desk. By offering healthy snacks to employees, you can encourage them to eat healthier. The NHS recommends everyone eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and you can help employees reach this target by providing free fruit bowls and vegetable snacks in the office. If you have office vending machines, you could replace the chocolate and crisps with more healthy snacks and if you regularly order office lunches, try ordering from healthier restaurants.
Look after employee wellbeing
A happy, healthy and motivated workforce can play a huge role in the success and productivity of your business. Your employees are your most valuable asset in a business and so taking care of their wellbeing is incredibly important. Many employees can have underlying health issues which can affect their ability to do their job, leading to absenteeism and presenteeism. Many employees feel a level of stress in the workplace due to pressure to perform and heavy workloads. The Mental Health Foundation reported that 91 million working days are lost a year through mental health illness. Mental illness including stress, anxiety, and depression made up 44% of all illnesses recorded in UK workplaces in the years 2017-18.
Many people resolve to improve their general health in the new year and you can help your employees do so by providing Employee Wellbeing services. Kays Medical’s Employee Wellbeing services offer a wide range of health assessment sessions such as medical history, height, weight and blood pressure checks, blood tests, eye sight checks, mental health assessment/advice, physiotherapy, lifestyle advice and counselling/employee assistance programmes. This can help improve the wellbeing of your workforce by highlighting any issues and delivering help and advice on how to tackle this, improving their health. This will help to improve productivity and decrease absenteeism, improving business performance.
Flexible working hours
Many of us resolve to spend more time with family, take up a hobby or volunteer/do charity work in the new year. These resolutions, however, often fall by the wayside due to workloads, deadlines, long commutes, and everyday obligations. When employees don’t get enough downtime or time for self-care, they start to feel stressed, depressed and anxious leading to poor mental health. As previously mentioned, poor mental health can lead to increased absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace, reducing productivity.
Help your employees stick to their new year’s resolutions and improve their mental health by offering more flexible working hours. Allow them to work from home or remote locations some days, encourage them to leave on time regularly, allow them to fit their working hours around the school run and provide flexi days so they can attend family or charity events.
Give back to the community
A popular New Year’s Resolution is to volunteer/do charity work. Encouraging employees to give back to their community is a great way to start 2020 and encourage teamwork, team building and provide a positive view of the company. This will not only help employees stick to their new year’s resolution but will also help provide them with a positive sense of self-worth as they feel they are giving back.
The Body Shop offer up to five days paid for employees to spend on charitable causes. This not only encourages people to stick to their new year’s resolution but helps encourage employees to give back to the community. This may not be possible for all employers, but you could arrange charity days in the office which could help get employees involved in fundraising or arrange days where employees volunteer in local and community-based projects.
Encourage employees to give up smoking
Giving up smoking is a popular New Year’s Resolution for many people. Smoking leads to a huge amount of health issues including increased risk of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which incorporates bronchitis and emphysema, and pneumonia. The NHS reports that around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year, and it is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. The British Heart Foundation has estimated the cost of smoking to UK businesses, for breaks and sick leave, to be over £8.7 billion a year.
By encouraging employees to give up smoking, it is not only in their interest but also the interest of the employer. As smoking leads to so many health issues, by helping employees kick the habit, you can save money on absenteeism and improve productivity by reducing long-term sickness. Direct employees to resources which will help them quit such as NHS smoke-free scheme, by putting up posters and giving out leaflets. Provide moral support for those who are trying to quit and if possible, provide incentives for those who are giving up to stick to it. Even just providing the time for smokers to attend therapy sessions can go a long way.
Around a third of people resolve to save more money in 2020. By encouraging employees to save and reduce debts you can help to reduce the stress that comes along with money issues and help improve employee wellbeing. Many companies offer access to financial planning advice and services which can help employees better manage their money. Even just offering basic financial education in the form of classes or leaflets or online financial planning tools can go a long way to help those wanting to organise their finances. These sorts of things can be offered at little or no cost to employers.
By providing just a little bit of extra support to employees you can help them stick to their New Year’s Resolutions in 2020, which can help to make a happier, healthier workforce. By having happy, healthy employees you can increase productivity and efficiency, decrease absences and help improve motivation. This will not only improve your employee’s mental and physical health but will also help to create a more positive and productive workplace and save you money in the long-run.