Healthy living has become an increasingly popular interest among individuals of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds. From watching the types of foods they eat to engaging in more exercise and physical activities, people are becoming more conscious of their health as a whole and are constantly seeking new opportunities to improve overall.
This presents a prime opportunity for employers to also show their staff that they care about their well being. Not only can promoting and encouraging employee wellness help improve employee morale, but it can also minimize time lost due to illness and improve workplace productivity.
There are plenty of ways an employer can begin encouraging employee wellness within the workplace. It is ideal to sit down with managers and/or the human resources department to come up with the most feasible options for your place of business. Below are a few suggestions on how you can begin:
One of the easiest ways to encourage your employees to maintain a healthy quality of life is through education. When employees are made aware of the various options they have as it pertains to their well-being, they are more likely to want to get involved. Great ways to provide employees with health or wellness education could include: providing educational materials such as flyers, brochures, and pamphlets, asking healthcare professionals to pay a visit and educate staff on their specialties (i.e. nutritionist, yoga instructor, Weight Watchers representative).
2. Encourage Employees to Utilize Their Breaks
As much as you might admire an employee that comes in the crack of dawn, works through their lunch, and heads home just before 9pm, if they’re not taking their allotted breaks, chances are they aren’t getting the proper nutrition and exercise they need during the day. Managers should make a point of trying to encourage their staff to eat breakfast and lunch, and even take an occasional walk around the office to rest their eyes and rejuvenate.
3. Provide Healthy Food Choices in the Workplace
Instead of stopping off at the nearest donut shop and brining in donuts and coffee for the staff to enjoy, why not find healthier alternatives? In common meeting areas such as the cafeteria or boardrooms, employers can encourage employee wellness by having healthy food choices for the staff. Instead of a tray of donuts, you could opt for something like a veggie tray with dipping sauces or a cheese and cracker tray. Rather than having vending machines filled with sugary drinks, you could opt for something healthy for your staff such as water coolers.
Money savings tip: According to the makers of the Quench office water cooler, companies can save as much as 20% to 50% by cutting out bottle water service and investing in bottleless water coolers.
4. Promote Exercise
Employees are generally sitting in front of a computer for a better part of the day which can lead to various work related injuries including muscle pain, eye strains, carpel tunnel, and more. Encouraging employees to get moving is a great way to improve their overall health. There are several options when it comes to promoting exercise including: working with local gyms to get discounted memberships, having an instructor come to the office and offer classes during lunch breaks, or creating your own internal exercise routines such as weekly walks.
5. Be Mindful of Mental Health as Well
Work related stress, stress from home, depression, anxiety, etc, can all take a toll on an employee. As an employer, it is a good idea to be mindful of your staffs’ mental health as well. Try to create a safe working environment with an open door policy that allows employees to talk to you about their concerns. Minimizing the stress can also be addressed by having periodic meetings where employee concerns are heard. Lastly, be sure that you provide your staff with information on outside sources they can reach out to for assistance such as therapists, support groups, and more.
6. Healthy Competition is Always a Bonus
Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition from time to time? Competition can often motivate us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. Create various competitions throughout your office. For example, you might have a weight loss contest by departments. The department that loses the most weight at the end of a certain period of time will win some comp time, a gift certificate to eat at a nice restaurant, etc.
Another suggestion might be to have a cook off in the office. Have staff sign up to cook a certain healthy dish and have a few managers be the judge. The person that has the best recipe can win a cash prize, or something of that nature. Anything to get everyone involved is a great way to encourage wellness and promote healthy competition in the office.
7. Don’t Forget to Include Management
In order for your employees to be encouraged by your wellness ideas it will be important for management to get involved as well. Company leadership will need to demonstrate the importance of improved health in the workplace by supporting the various options offered.
Designing employee wellness programs can really work to your advantage. When deciding which options will work best for your place of business, be sure to get the input of others for a diverse set of ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to work with other businesses in the community such as healthcare facilities, gyms, and medical specialists to provide as many opportunities as you can to your employees.
With time you will begin to see a difference in the workplace as a whole. As the saying goes, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link” … so why not invest in making sure that each and everyone one of your employees is as strong as they can be physically and mentally?