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Science-Backed Ways To Improve Workplace Wellness In The Healthcare Sector

Healthcare staff are supposed to look after the public—but what about their health? Keeping these people mentally and physically well is vital. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at some of the science-backed ways in which managers can improve workplace wellness.

1. Simply saying ‘thank you’ to employees 

Thanking a staff member for a job well done may sound like a small gesture but it could have a big impact on their health. Research from Portland State University suggests that being thanked at work improved nurses’ sense of job satisfaction. The study also suggested that this change could help them sleep better, eat better, and have fewer headaches overall.

“This type of study helps us understand how to keep nurses in the workforce in a healthy way. Nurses strongly align their profession with their identity and often look out for patients more than themselves,” says researcher and business professor David Cadiz. The gratitude matches up with their identity, gives them satisfaction in a job well done and ultimately increases self-care.” 

2. Make sure the workforce socialises 

Staff members who socialise with one another may have better health. One study from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology suggests that identifying stronger with your fellow colleagues leads to a lower level of burnout and a healthier lifestyle. With that in mind, ensuring that the team members get along and do things outside of work is key. It could be time to plan some team building days or social events for the staff. 

“We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organization provide us with a sense of belonging and community — when it gives us a sense of ‘we-ness,'” says  Dr. Niklas Steffens.

3. Encourage employees to cycle to work 

How about introducing a ‘cycle to work’ scheme? Research from Concordia University suggests that staff members who commute by bike are less stressed in general and also have a higher level of overall performance. That’s a win-win situation for both employees and employers. What’s more, cycling is a smart way for people to get their daily exercise. Since many people lead busy lives and struggle to hit the gym, this could be key. 

“Recent research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of their effect later in the day,” says researcher and avid cyclist, Stéphane Brutus. “They can shape how subsequent events are perceived, interpreted and acted upon for the rest of the day.”

4. Help your staff members eat well 

Having healthy options in (or near to) the workplace could be the secret to better health for many employees. Recent research within a large urban hospital suggests that staff who purchased the least healthy options from the cafeteria were also likely to eat poorly at home. Changing the way in which staff members eat—through a wider variety of healthy options—could make a difference to their lives at work but also when they go home. 

“Workplace wellness programs have the potential to promote lifestyle changes among large populations of employees, yet to date there have been challenges to developing effective programs. We hope our findings will help to inform the development of accessible, scalable, and affordable interventions,” says Jessica L. McCurley, one of the study’s investigators. 

At Shed, we want to be a part of the healthy eating solution. We are currently piloting smart vending machines in hospitals around Sheffield, UK. These refrigerated machines are stocked daily with nutritiously balanced meals and snacks. Available 24/7 (location permitting), the smart vending machines aims to better people’s lives through the food they eat.

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