Published by HealthFitness on November 4th, 2019

There are a lot of factors that contribute to a person’s happiness. And while you can’t control these aspects of your employees’ lives, you can provide them with tools to manage them, leading to happier employees and a healthier bottom line. Here are five things that can help you make your employees happier.

1. Exercise
We’ve all heard that exercise helps release endorphins and endorphins make us happy, but happiness is a bit of a squishy concept. Researchers at the University of Michigan combined data from multiple past studies and found a correlation between being physically active and being happy1.

Additionally, studies have shown that physical activity can actually reduce the likelihood of depression and help maintain mental health as we age2. Exercise also appears to be an effective treatment for a range of mental health conditions such as mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety and even reduces cognitive issues in schizophrenia2.

There are many ways you can encourage employees to be more physically fit in the workplace. Providing a fitness center in your office or access to a virtual fitness solution can help remove barriers to starting and maintaining an exercise program.
2. Nutrition
Like exercise, nutrition affects the levels of certain chemicals in our brain, affecting a person’s happiness. Eating healthy and nutritious foods can help improve a person’s mood, focus, energy levels, memory and alertness3. Nutrition also plays a big role in a person’s physical health. When people feel better about themselves and are more confident, they are happier.

Employers can encourage healthy eating habits and proper nutrition by providing various wellness programs. Providing education and wellness challenges teach employees what to do and encourage them to put that knowledge into practice.
3. Finances
According to research by Northwestern Mutual, 87% of Americans agree that nothing makes them happier or more confident than feeling like their finances are in order4. Notice that the study doesn’t say having a lot of money makes people happy. Harvard Business School researchers found that money does contribute to happiness to meet basic needs, but above a certain level, more money does not yield much more happiness5.

So on top of paying your employees fair wages, you can help provide them with tools to manage their finances, so that they can properly plan for their future goals. Smart companies are addressing financial management head on by using our group education programs offered in a variety of formats and lengths, including:
Seminars: Financial Wellbeing—Small Steps to Fiscal Fitness. During this one-hour seminar, employees will learn how financial wellness connects to overall wellbeing.

What’s What Meet Ups—Financial Savings: What’s What Meet ups are filled with tips and action steps that can be delivered in 10 minutes or less to help employees learn to save for financial goals by planning ahead.

4. Sleep
How do you feel after a bad night of sleep? Are you feeling good and ready to take on your day, or do you feel grumpy or a bit foggy? Most of us have experienced a bad night of sleep and have seen firsthand how that affected our mood and cognitive ability the next day.

Sleep has a huge effect on a person’s mood and mental wellbeing. Sleep deprived people feel more irritable, angry, hostile, stressed, sad and mentally exhausted. Plus, a lack of sleep makes people less able to control their emotional reactions to situations, making them more likely to react negatively when something doesn’t go well for them. And the kicker is that people who are sleep deprived are less likely to get the positive emotional benefits of a positive experience6.

All of this leads to unhappy employees with a lack of energy, which can greatly affect the quality of their work and their relationships with customers and colleagues. Employers can provide education through wellness programming on stress management and sleep strategies to help support healthy sleep habits. Being more physically active can also help people get a better night’s sleep, so providing access to fitness programs can help.
5. Injuries/Pain
When a person is in pain it can affect their mood and their ability to partake in everyday activities. Pain can come from a number of sources including injury or illness. Pain that lasts longer than three months or beyond the normal healing time for an illness or injury is known as chronic pain. Chronic pain has been linked to numerous physical and mental conditions and contributes to high health care costs and lost productivity. According to the Center for Disease Control, as many as 20% of U.S. adults have chronic pain and 8% have high-impact chronic pain7.

One way employers can help their employees, is by reducing injuries from happening in the first place with ergonomic workstations and by implementing an injury prevention program. Employers can also look at injury treatment programs, which can reduce time away from work and help get employees back to work more quickly.

Work with HealthFitness to make your employees healthier and happier
HealthFitness is a comprehensive wellbeing provider. Our solutions are integrated through our engagement platform, grounded in the latest behavior change science and delivered with proven engagement strategies that provide positive outcomes to help organizations improve their wellbeing.

Contact us today to learn how we can help make your employees happier and your bottom line healthier.


  1. Raynolds, G. (2018, May 2). Even a Little Exercise Might Make Us Happier. The New York Times. 
  2. Gingell, S. (2018, Mar 22). How Your Mental Health Reaps the Benefits of Exercise. Psychology Today.
  3. Jamieson-Petonic, A. (2013, February 5). Bad Mood? Look to Your Food. Cleveland Clinic.
  4. Northwestern Mutual (2018, June 12). New Research: Money is The Leading Source of Happiness – and Stress.  
  5. Cohan, P. (2017, December 14). This Harvard Study of 4,000 Millionaires Revealed Something Surprising About Money and Happiness. Inc.
  6. Gordon, A. (2013, August 15). Up All Night: The effects of Sleep Loss on Mood. Psychology Today.
  7. Center for Disease Control (2018, September 14). Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Amount Adults.