Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Gary Miller from GarageGymPlanner.com – His opinions are his own.
Most workplaces are not the most conducive environments for a healthy, active lifestyle. Sitting for long periods of time, artificial lighting and stress can all wreak havoc on the health of your employees. To add to this, many people find it challenging to fit exercise into their already busy lives and packed schedules. This is a serious concern for employers since studies have shown that inactivity leads to lower levels of productivity.
However, the issue goes beyond merely improving your company’s profitability. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health problems that can keep your employees away from work and impact their quality of life. In contrast to this, offices with healthy employees enjoy better productivity and quality of work. Healthier employees are happier employees and enjoy stronger personal and professional relationships.
According to the world health organization, inactivity is the fourth biggest health problem for adults. It’s as detrimental to health as smoking cigarettes and is attributed to 9% of premature deaths.
Getting your employees moving is the best thing you can do to improve their wellbeing and lower medical care costs while increasing productivity. Even a few small lifestyle changes or a few minutes of activity a day can have a significant positive impact on the health of your employees since every little bit helps. Fortunately making a few simple changes will promote a more active workplace.
Here are seven useful tips to help you cultivate a healthier office mentality and make your employees more active.
1. Have standing or walking meetings
Most offices have meetings that stretch for hours together. A good way to bring in an aspect of health is to conduct standing meetings. Studies have shown that standing during meetings is an excellent way to ensure that they don’t drag on endlessly and also increases efficiency. It’s also an excellent way to get people out of their chairs.
If the meeting is among a smaller group of people, walking meetings are a great option as well. They give employees the chance to get some work done while doing some exercise. Getting out of the office will also help them get some fresh air, encourage free-flowing conversations, reduce tensions and allow for more creativity.
2. Encourage employees to take breaks to move
Give your team members the option to take occasional breaks and move around. Encourage them to go for a walk around the building or simply walk up and down the stairs. Even a 5-10-minute break a couple of times a day can make a massive difference to their health.
Getting moving will not only have a positive impact health-wise but will also help them get back to work feeling refreshed and energized. This is a simple and effective way to boost well-being.
3. Reward self-improvement
Many employers are under the notion that promotions and monetary rewards are sufficient to promote employee satisfaction. But is it more important to provide people with the resources that they need to grow and better themselves. Put aside a position of your budget towards fitness programs and health education for employees.
Help them set a plan for better health and give them incentives to succeed by rewarding the most improved members. For instance, you can set fitness challenges and give an award to the best performer.
4. Develop a workplace health program
Introducing a workplace health program is a great way to give employees the opportunity to get serious about their health. This program could consist of health counseling, weight management, and fitness programs. Whether your employees want to maintain their health or lose a few pounds, getting them involved in a workplace health initiative can encourage them to make healthier choices.
There are several helpful resources available online on implementing workplace health programs. If you’re looking at improving fitness by yourself, GGP has an article here about it.
5. Offer standing desk options
Several studies support the benefits of standing over sitting all day. By giving your employees the option of standing instead of sitting at their desks for a few hours, you can have a positive impact on their health and reduce medical expenses. A company that has successfully implemented this is Caldrea, which manufactures eco-friendly cleaning products. They provide their employees with “work-fit” stations instead of standard desks.
This type of initiative doesn’t require huge investments. Simply provide a few adjustable desks that can be moved up and down and offer exercise balls for seating. Another option is to give them under-desk elliptical trainers so that they can get in some exercise as they work.
6. Put together a wellness committee
This involves appointing a few employees to be part of a task force that is solely dedicated to improving the health of their fellow team members. They will need to come up with plans and activities to keep employees active in the workplace on a regular basis. The wellness committee will be involved in accessing the current level of activity in the office, discussing the fitness need of employees and coming up with specific solutions. The committee must also convene regularly to brainstorm new ideas and determine if progress is being made.
7. Advocate preventative care
Many workplace wellness programs focus only on solving problems as and when they happen. But following a preventative approach will help cut down on sick days and avoid a loss of productivity in the workplace. Offer preventative care such as flu vaccinations in the office or group health insurance for your employees.
If your budget is limited, you can educate your team on the importance of pre-emptive healthcare. This will give employees the tools they need to stay healthy and save the company money in the long run.
Today many businesses are finding creative ways to promote activity and health in the workplace. Employers have the opportunity to reinvent workplaces and give their employees the freedom to take charge of their health. It is essential to allocate time and resources to enable them to achieve their health goals. Convert the office into a healthy space that employees look forward to spending time in every day.