With a fresh new year ahead, there’s no better time to discuss health at work with your employees.
It should come as no surprise that a recent survey found the number one resolution for 2019 is losing weight and exercising more.
With that in mind, seize the opportunity to have your employees embrace healthy living at the start of the year when they’re feeling inspired.
When you promote healthy living practices at work, employees are also less likely to have sick days and work-related accidents.
Unsure of where to start?
Here’s 10 ways to set your employees up for a healthy year:
1. Take a “Fitness Five”
Every hour, set a timer to encourage employees to do 5 minutes of cardio. It forces everyone to take a much-needed break while promoting heart healthy activities.
Health at Work Tip: Keep jump ropes and resistance bands on hand for employees who want to participate. Both are small and don’t require much space or investment.
2. Create an On-site Gym
Working out is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Aside from strengthening muscles, joints, and bones, it also can boost creativity and productivity. For the new year, consider adding a workplace gym to help employees get involved in fitness.
Health at Work Tip: Take a poll to see what types of activities your employees would like at work. Bringing in a yoga teacher twice a week may be just enough. Or, employees may prefer a weight room with a rack and free weights.
3. Check Office Ergonomics
The use of correct ergonomics can lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which are the most frequently cited causes of lost work time. Check-in with employees that they are performing their work in safe ways by using proper equipment and form.
Health at Work Tip: Protect workers by putting a plan in place to reduce the risk of developing MSDs. For office workers, this checklist helps create a safe work station.
4. Promote Mental Well-Being
Depression may be personal, but it’s also becoming more of a personnel issue, too. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, depression is expected to be the No. 1 disease burden globally. Every month, send reminders of resources like lists of local mental health professionals, suicide hotlines, and addiction rehab information. It may feel like a repeat message, but you never know who may need that important information.
Health at Work Tip: Offer workshops that include stress management tips, counselor resources, and positive self-help books.
5. Cut the Sugar
While it’s impossible to keep all sugar out of the workplace, it isn’t impossible to supply healthier options. A few ideas: remove soda machines, keep sparkling water in the fridge, and provide healthier meals for employee luncheons.
Health at Work Tip: Keep bowls of fresh fruit out in the breakroom instead of chips and sweets.
6. Encourage Annual Checkups
Send out friendly emails every few months to remind employees to get annual checkups. February is American Heart Month, for example, so you might send a cute Valentine’s card with a reminder for employees to see their cardiologist or primary doc. Through the TotalWellneess PCP program, if you send your employees to their primary care physician for an annual preventive visit, we can collect the data and create an aggregate report so you can see the biggest health risks impacting your population.
Health at Work Tip: If possible, consider giving employees one half Friday off a month to make it easier to get annual checkups done.
7. Host Daily Water Cooler Gatherings
If your office staff looks like they’re ready for a sleep study by 3 p.m., it could be due to dehydration. When energy levels drop off, encourage a trip to the water cooler. Offer an impromptu pep talk, hand out healthy snacks like trail mix, or set up a fruit bar for employees to infuse their water.
Health at Work Tip: Gift employees personalized cups with their names. Tervis cups are great for keeping drinks at the perfect temp — hot or cold. How much water should you be drinking? Remember the 8X8 rule, which is eight 8 oz. glasses daily.
8. Encourage Breaks
Sitting too long causes numerous issues like back pain and sore joints, and keeping at the same tasks for hours depletes creativity and energy. Taking a mental break is necessary for more productivity. Ask employees to set timers to take breaks they’ve earned — and by law — should take.
Health at Work Tip: Set an hourly timer for an office dance party. Crank up some music and let loose.
9. Review Wellness Program
If you haven’t already, look at which of your wellness activities worked well last year. If your wellness fair was a hit but your steps challenge wasn’t, revamp and revise. Ask for employee feedback after each one, too.
Health at Work Tip: Set up a wellness program at the start of a new month like the Invest in Yourself 30-day challenge.
10. Schedule Group Fitness Gatherings
Hitting the gym takes dedication, and, sometimes, teamwork. Set an office-wide weight loss challenge to encourage participation. A collective weight loss goal — like 200 pounds, for example — is a great way to get your entire staff involved. Organizing gym dates and 5k walk/run events are simple ways to get everyone excited to workout.
Health at Work Tip: Give out gym memberships this month to your staff. Plan a weekly meeting for group fitness classes at the gym.
Healthy Employees Means a Healthy Business
Your employees are your best asset, and providing healthy resources increases the chance employees will stay healthy. When planning wellness initiatives, it’s important to keep physical fitness in mind, but also that mental and spiritual health matter, too.
Whether you use one or all of these health and wellness ideas in the workplace, it’s bound to get employees excited for a healthy new year.
How do you plan to inspire employees to get healthy this year? Share in the comments below!