Tips for a Healthy Work Environment

An important question to consider, as a CEO or manager, is: what value does a healthy workforce have in relation to my employee’s productivity and organization’s bottom line? Encouraging your employees to be healthy not only increases their productivity, but helps them to have a healthier/longer life. Not to mention – the less employees you have getting sick, the less they’ll use their insurance, and the more you’ll save on the premiums.

Below, we’ve put together some tips for fostering a healthy lifestyle in the office.

Encourage your staff to be active during the workday. Allow your staff to take calls while walking in the park. Encourage them to take a long lunch (and work late) to accommodate for time in the gym during the workday. Making it easier for your employees to exercise eliminates a number of the excuses people think of when trying to justify their choice to be inactive. Some of the benefits of exercise include: controlling weight, improving mood, boosting energy, combating various health concerns and disease, promoting better sleep, etc. If your employees move their bodies they are likely to be healthy, productive, energetic contributors to your team.

Make exercise at gyms financially prudent (or even profitable). Some of the ways you can achieve this objective include lowering health insurance premiums for employees who workout for a set number of hours at a gym or reimbursing employees for gym memberships up to a certain dollar amount. For example, provide your employees with a number of “company supported” health clubs and offer them $20 off their monthly premium if they use the gym 20 hours a month. Another example could be offering reimbursement gym memberships up to $250.00 a year as an employee perk. You could also bring various trainers into your office throughout the month and encourage your employees to take group fitness classes to better their health and improve office morale.

Offer stability balls or standing desks for employees to use, instead of office chairs. This may seem like a small tip, but the studies of adverse effects due to static sitting in standard office furniture are numerous. Some of the adverse effects of prolonged sitting in customary office chairs include: hunching of the spine, pressure on spinal discs, over-stretching of ligaments, etc. Standing desks are a great option for employees whose joints are achy as a result of endless sitting. Conversely, sitting on a stability ball provides health benefits as it burns more energy (calories), requires core stability, and forces “active” sitting.

Make exercise, dieting and weight-loss fun. Friendly competition is no stranger to the standard American workplace. Make workforce health and well-being a competition in itself. Create teams and offer a various number of points for things such as the number of hours spent being at a gym, choosing to take the stairs, selecting healthy, high protein, low fat, options for lunch and snack, etc. Breed camaraderie and understanding amongst employees that choose to participate. If possible, create some sort of compensation for the winning team. This could include losers bringing in lunch on the Friday after the competition concludes, etc.

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