Boosting productivity and preventing disability: The impact of lifestyle habits in the workplace 

Lifestyle habits have a profound impact on performance and workplace wellbeing. Transcending the boundaries between personal and professional life, behaviours adopted outside of work play a key role in employees’ productivity and mental health. This article takes an in-depth look at the influence of lifestyle habits, focusing not only on physical exercise, but also on mental health and its link to the fulfillment of professional responsibilities. 

Regular exercise: The cornerstone of productivity 

Major studies have established a concrete link between regular exercise and efficiency at work. Initiatives aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease accounted for a 26% reduction in sick leave and a 30% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability claims, according to Ron Finch, EdD, in this research from the University of Rhode Island. The benefits of exercise, such as improved concentration and reduced stress, contribute to a more dynamic and efficient work environment. Employers stand to benefit from this, considering that they have a role to play in promoting the physical health of their workers. 

To promote an active and balanced lifestyle, organizations can introduce various initiatives aimed at fostering a work environment conducive to physical wellbeing. Establishing physical wellbeing programs is proving to be an effective strategy. These may include activities such as group exercise sessions, fitness classes and in-house sports challenges. Employers who provide their employees with opportunities to take part in a variety of physical activities stimulate motivation and reinforce the sense of belonging to a health-conscious community. 

Flexible working hours play a key role. By offering flexible working hours and active breaks, employers enable their teams to spend time being physically active, thereby helping to manage stress and improve overall wellbeing. 

Integrating resources dedicated to injury prevention in the workplace is a proactive approach. Stretching sessions, ergonomic training or injury prevention advice contribute to the long-term physical health of employees, especially those exposed to physical hazards on the job.  

Lastly, providing subsidies or financial incentives for individual or group physical activities strengthens employees’ commitment to their health, whether through participation in sporting events, races, etc. 

Do you need to assess an employee’s health? Our medical assessment service provides you with an objective opinion and helps you manage your OHS and disability files efficiently.

Mental health and productivity 

In Quebec, about 10% of health emergency costs in 2021 were due to mental health problems.1 This is why it’s vital to understand that the influence of lifestyle habits is not limited to physical exercise. Habits such as adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and stress management at home also profoundly impact mental health. 

IRSST studies and research have highlighted the correlation between a balanced lifestyle and improved mental health, resulting in enhanced job satisfaction and lower absenteeism. Accordingly, an employee assistance program is recommended. Integrating this type of program, which can include hotlines and counselling services, reduces absenteeism by 28% and increases productivity by 19% (JOEM). 

Organizations that foster an open mental health culture are more likely to attract and retain talent, as evidenced by studies from the Harvard Business Review. Investing in mental health not only supports organizational growth, but also ensures human capital stability. 

Happy employees, thriving companies 

Simply put, lifestyle habits have a significant impact on workplace performance and wellbeing. Apart from physical exercise, healthy choices at home directly influence employee productivity and mental health. However, it is essential to acknowledge that organizations are an important part of the equation. More widespread adoption of initiatives such as the promotion of physical activity, flexible working hours and the integration of employee assistance programs is of paramount importance in Quebec. 

Investing in physical and mental health not only benefits organizations, but also fosters an environment where employees thrive over the long term. Making lifestyle habits central to the work environment is a winning strategy for the overall wellbeing of teams and the long-term survival of Quebec organizations. 

Boost productivity and reduce absenteeism with Ducore Expertise. We can assist you with your occupational health and safety initiatives. Find out more about our Integrated Psychiatric Assessments service here or at | 1.844.684.8200 


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