Integrating employee health with environmental health is essential, and organisations, in today’s scenario, must recognize and address this interlinked behaviour. It’s not only an organisation’s ethical responsibility to maintain a healthy and sustainable working environment but the practice is also advantageous for it.
Implementing strategies to interconnect these two aspects creates a positive workplace, improves employee well-being, enhances employees’ eco-friendly behaviours, improves employee performance and represents your organisation as environmentally and socially responsible on a global platform. All these factors contribute to the overall performance of an organisation and ensure long-term success.
The connection between environmental health and personal well-being
There is an intricate relationship between environmental health and personal well-being. Human health is greatly affected by the environment in which he/she lives and factors like water and air quality, green spaces, pollutants exposure and overall exposure and overall ecosystem play a huge role in it. And when it comes to an organisation’s perspective, it becomes more important.
Some examples that demonstrate this interlink between environmental health and human well-being are:
- Poor water and air quality triggers many health issues for employees. On the contrary, access to a positive and clean working environment keeps the employees physically and mentally fit. A happy and healthy employee is always satisfied and productive in his work.
- Access to a green and natural environment improves the overall mental health of the employees. It fosters cognitive recognition, mind relaxation, and a sense of overall well-being. On the contrary, exposure to pollutants, noise, and other environmental stressors increases employees' stress levels, ultimately affecting their health and work.
- Rising temperatures and greenhouse gases, changing weather patterns and increasing diseases affect the physical and mental well-being of the employees. Organisations offering improved design of built environments with cycling and walking infrastructure, urban spaces and areas for outdoor recreational activities promote healthy and active lifestyles for their employees. Collectively, it contributes to physical and mental health and develops immunity against diseases.
- It will be an injustice for people who are more exposed to environmental hazards and have less access to green spaces. This type of environmental injustice inculcates a feeling of social inequality, affecting the mental health of an individual. Organisations ensuring equal access to healthy surroundings fosters a sense of social well-being among employees.
Organisations, which have understood these relationships, are taking initiatives to merge eco-friendly practices with employee health. Undoubtedly, there have been several benefits like improved productivity, higher job satisfaction among employees, talent attraction, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, better employee engagement, and enhanced corporate image in the global world.
Some practices that organisations take to make a sustainable relationship between the environment and their employees’ health.
Healthy eating at work: Incorporating sustainable food practices
The dietary choices of an individual not only affect his health but also affect the overall well-being of the entire Earth. By incorporating sustainable eating practices at work, your organisation can foster an environment of eco-friendly and nutritious dining for employees.
Some practical and simple steps that can help organisations to create a healthier and sustainable work environment for all.
Set up a green eating policy:
Introduce a clear and detailed green policy in the organisation. Mention goals and principles clearly for sustainable eating. Encourage employees for more seasonal, plant-based and locally sourced food products.
Educate and raise awareness:
Educate employees about dietary practices and how what they consume affects their health and the environment. Communicate your ideas and raise awareness through seminars, workshops, and your organisation's internal communication channels.
Add more plant-based options in the cafeteria:
Revamping the office cafeteria is a great idea to let employees make sustainable choices. Be innovative and introduce nutritious yet delicious alternatives to meat-based meals. Add more plant-based options to the cafeteria menu.
Introduce sustainable snack options:
Snacking in between the means is good for health but only if it is healthy. From a sustainability point of view, it would be great if you present those healthy snacks in minimal packaging or reusable boxes. Minimising plastic use and encouraging the use of reusable plates, bottles, cups, etc. contribute to a healthier planet.
An organisation needs to collaborate, educate and commit to developing sustainable eating practices among its employees.
Eco-friendly commutes: Benefits for health and the environment
Encouraging sustainable commuting options for employees helps you attain better health for employees and reduce greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously. Inspire employees for more physical activity in their daily lives. Eco-friendly commuting options mean picking sustainable transportation options.
Some strategies companies can implement to promote sustainable transportation practices among employees are:
Introduce sustainable transportation options:
Start a carpooling initiative in your company through a system where employees can connect with people sharing the same routes. Add convenience for employees by adding shuttle services to and from major commuting locations or public transportation stops.
Give commuting benefits:
Employees who adopt sustainable commuting must be given extra benefits for further encouragement. Offer stipends for carpooling, give rewards for walking, provide public transportation passes at discounted rates and offer reimbursements for cycling expenses. Give monthly rewards, gifts, gift cards or incentives to employees who are consistent in their eco-friendly behaviours.
Raise awareness through educational programs:
Raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable transportation options among employees through campaigns. Use different communication sources like posters, newsletters or emails to give some tips for eco-friendly commutes and to share inspiring stories.
Such initiatives are win-win situations for organisations as they save employees’ time, reduce their commuting frustration, and improve their happiness quotient, which reflects in their productivity.
Health benefits through these programs:
- Improved mental health
- Higher physical activity
- Reduced stress levels
- Motivated employees
Environmental benefits of eco-friendly commute:
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Conservation of natural resources
- Reducing road infrastructure and promoting green spaces
Implementing wellness programs with a sustainability focus:
Sustainable wellness is an innovative approach combining standard employee wellness programs with sustainable practices. Companies adopt sustainable wellness programs to ensure employees’ well-being and reduce carbon footprint through employee engagement.
Some key elements of organisations’ sustainable wellness programs:
Eco-friendly work environment:
Sustainable wellness starts with creating a green working environment. Make eco-friendly moves in the office by using energy-saving lights, installing solar panels, encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and implementing recycling programs. Further, keep more indoor plants as it not only improves air quality but also creates a comfortable and happy place for employees to work.
Wellness programs along with green behaviour:
Organise some challenging wellness programs with a focus on sustainable actions. Combine monthly steps-challenge practice with tree planting activities or minimal waste goals. Encourage employees to participate in fitness programs, inspire them to wall or use bikes to work, and offer incentives for adopting sustainable practices.
Evaluate existing wellness programs:
Integrate sustainability principles into your current wellness programs. Introduce local, plant-based and sustainably sourced food products and snacks in the cafeteria. Introduce mental health programs in the outdoor areas where employees get a touch of natural elements. Educate employees about how their lifestyle choices impact the environment and why they should adopt sustainable living habits.
Make your organisation ready for improvement. Ask for feedback and monitor changes and trends in sustainable wellness programs in other organisations. Timely adapt your sustainable wellness practices to align with changing employees' needs and evolving sustainability standards.
C02HERO: Integrates sustainable solutions with employee health seamlessly
The CO2HERO aims to incorporate sustainability practices among employees in a FUN manner. Connect with our app and get involved in various interactive challenges, specially designed for companies and employees. Engaging employees in sustainability actions in a united manner helps them to embrace the challenges joyfully.
For more information about innovative solutions for integrating employee health with sustainable practices, visit CO2HERO. Let’s work on a holistic approach to benefit both the planet and the people. Click here for more details.