How To Keep Your Startup Healthy

October 16, 2012

It’s no big surprise that there is a correlation between health and productivity at work. In a startup, every individual is typically vital to the organization as a whole. The ability for any one person to perform at the top of their game each day could make the difference the company needs to get ahead and make those important milestones.
This is one reason many startups have made the decision to make health a focus at the workplace. Morning exercises, office gyms, and even catered lunches featuring healthier foods are common at many startups. It’s in the company’s best interest that its employes be fit and focused on the tasks ahead.
Here are a few ways your startup can stay healthy to help your employees and contractors maintain that critical focus and productivity.
Why Health is Important
The Journal of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine released a study that shows that health-related lost productive time costs employers a whopping $225.8 billion dollars every year. That’s just in the U.S. Having a healthy staff means having a productive staff that makes the most of your investment.
That doesn’t mean you should consider an applicant’s health during the hiring process, but a startup especially should take steps necessary to minimize the time an employee spends out sick. This may include health benefits such as preventative care for medical, dental, and perhaps even optical.
This is an expensive solution for many startups, but there are a few less-expensive ways to go about enhancing the productivity of your workforce. This may work well alongside a medical benefit, though they also work great as stand-alone incentives.
Encourage Exercise
Exercise is a great way to boost endorphins and increase productivity around the workplace. You might think that a little exercise will wear you out and decrease your productivity levels, but the idea is to increase energy levels consistently. Losing weight, improving your cardio, and generally getting your body used to moving can have a lasting impact on your energy levels throughout the day.
A morning exercise, some gym equipment in a spare room, or even a walking path around the office can help you and your employees (or contractors) get a little more exercise in their day. After all, a lot of this time is spent at the office sitting in a chair.
Provide Healthy Foods
“Big companies” such as Apple and Amazon have learned that providing good, healthy foods for your employees is a great way to help them keep healthy. In so many other workplaces, an employee will order a pizza or head out to a fast food place for lunch and spend the afternoon in a slump.
Providing snack foods like apples, oranges, bananas, and other fruits are a great alternative to vending machine sugar bombs.
An occasional catered lunch from a healthy, yet delicious local vendor – or using an in-house, healthy vendor like Molly’s – is also a great way to get employees through especially long days at the office during crunch time.
A Quiet Space
Stress is a huge cause of health issues. It can impact your internal organs, muscles, and even your immune system. Startups are typically hotbeds for stress as everything counts that much more.
Providing a quiet room with dim lighting and comfortable furniture employees can use to relax and meditate during their much-deserved breaks can help reduce stress and provide a much-needed break – especially if your employees work at the office long hours. A few minutes of calm and quiet here and there may even jump start the creative process by allowing the employee to clear their mind of all the chaos going on in the office and regain focus on the project at hand.
Stress is a big problem in a startup, but because so many allow employees to take breaks (and get rest) as needed, many appear to be more relaxed than established businesses. It’s important that employees and contractors at startups be comfortable and motivated to keep getting things done.
Afterall, stress has never been linked to improved productivity in the long-term.


Picture of Kelly Clay

Kelly Clay