7 Ways to promote health and well-being in the workplace
When it comes to cultivating a workplace environment centered around healthy habits and good choices, it’s not as costly as it may sound.
In fact, research indicates that promoting healthy living can save money over the long run.
Studies by Buck Consultants have found that saving money is a primary motivation for 74% of companies with wellness programs in place, and secondary benefits can include improving productivity, reducing sick days, and retaining workers.
Companies looking to make adjustments to their culture to promote health and well-being have several options. In this article, we’re discussing how it’s possible to make this a reality for your workplace.
1. Encourage Preventative Care
The logic is simple: healthy employees perform better and are less likely to suffer health issues that require days out of the office. Plus, healthy employees are happy employees.
It’s clear that stress has a significant impact on one's health. But to keep employees healthy, you have to look at the big picture.
Organizations that include more than just physical fitness in their health initiatives, and instead consider positive behavior changes as a part of an employee’s overall well-being, often see greater results.
There are several ways to promote positive behavior changes in employees, including:
- Host employee outings to farmers’ markets
- Offer opportunities for smoking cessation
- Provide counseling resources
Another way to bring preventative care to your workplace is through initiatives like in-office flu shots. While the cost of bringing in staff to provide flu vaccines to each of your colleagues isn’t cheap, it can drastically reduce the number of sick days taken each year.
As Alan Kohll points out in an article for Forbes, “Not only will an onsite flu shot clinic save company dollars, it will also decrease absenteeism and loss of employee productivity caused by the illness.”
Making preventative care accessible—and easy—for employees to take advantage of could be the solution to making your workplace healthier.
2. Make Healthy Alternatives Convenient for Employees
Employees with access to fitness facilities are more likely to use them. Many top-notch business parks offer these facilities as a part of the lease agreement, so you may seek these out when locating your next office space. If you don’t have the option of moving, consider designating an area of your office building as your company fitness center.
As a last option, if you don’t have space for a dedicated fitness center, you may offer memberships to local gyms as a part of employee benefits. Even a discounted rate can increase employee interest in joining a gym or signing up for an exercise class.
3. Opt for Nutritious Lunches
If your company provides a cafeteria for employees, unhealthy choices can be easily swapped for healthy ones. While the food may cost more at the outset, the investment is well worth it.
Companies that do not have cafeterias may consider offering meals during the day as a benefit for hard-working team members. In addition, you can also offer discounts and gift cards to health food stores instead of the usual fast food or chain restaurants.
When it comes to dining out for lunch, it can be easy for employees to fall into the trap of eating fast food, especially if they don’t have a ton of time to step out of the office. Encourage them to choose something green and high in protein, like a salad or a grilled chicken wrap. Set an example for your employees by opting for a healthier lunch.
You can also urge employees to avoid the take-out temptation by bringing lunch to work. A salad with grilled chicken, a turkey sandwich made with whole-wheat bread, or Greek yogurt and fruit with cottage cheese are all healthy—and filling—choices.
The advantages of bringing a healthy lunch to work are numerous. Employees save money and time while improving their health by eating something nutritious.
4. Provide Opportunities for Health Education
Sometimes your employees just don’t know how to be the healthiest they can be in the time they have each day. With work, families, and extracurricular activities, finding time to be active and seek out healthier eating options just doesn’t seem possible for many.
By bringing in educational speakers and chefs for special classes, your employees can learn how to leverage the time they have to live a healthier life. You can also allow employees to take fitness classes during the day, such as tai chi, yoga, or even aerobics, to encourage attendance.
5. Make Downtime a Priority
Employees can’t give 100% all the time without experiencing fatigue and mental distress. By providing relaxation time during the day, you give your team members a chance to recuperate, rebuild focus, and work with even more enthusiasm. Employees can use their downtime for a brief power nap, take fitness class, eat a healthy snack, or catch up with other employees.
Downtime is great for employee well-being, but it’s also imperative to overall company performance. The McKinsey Company found that companies with connected employees see an increase in productivity by 20-25%.
What does this tell us? Working employees to the bone is counterproductive, so it’s best to make rest and relaxation an integral part of company culture.
6. Emphasize the Importance of Mental Health
Physical well-being is undoubtedly important, but overall health includes mental health, too. If you don’t offer counseling services for your employees, you may want to consider starting a program.
Keep in mind that unmanaged stress and mental exhaustion can lead to much bigger problems in the long run, such as heart disease, sleep deprivation, anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression. Mentally unfit employees can’t do their best work and can impact the company as a whole.
7. Get up and Move Throughout the Day
Most corporate jobs involve a lot of sitting and unhealthy eating, and as a result, many office workers don’t get the exercise and nutrition they need. Create a healthy corporate culture by encouraging employees to take control of their well-being with these methods.
Even the most sedentary jobs have room for some simple stretches or exercises. Encourage employees to do desk exercises, like leg lifts, as well as back, shoulder, and neck stretches throughout the day. If they want to go the extra mile, they can keep a resistance band or hand weights at their desk to get the most out of those exercises.
Also, emphasize the importance of walking around the office throughout the day. Instead of taking the elevator up to the next floor, employees should take the stairs. Or, they can set a timer to remind them to get up and walk around at least once an hour.
Many health initiatives are expensive to implement, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Before you discard any of the above ideas, consider the potential pitfalls you or your employees could face. In addition to lower productivity, you could also face high turnover as employees seek out bigger, better, healthier employment options.
The bottom line: healthy employees are happy employees and happy employees produce the best work.
Curious about how OfficeSpace can help you improve your office in other ways? Contact us today and our team will help you find the workplace solution that’s right for your company.
Image Credit: Shutterstock, Ella Olsson, Shutterstock,