Workplace health may seem like a daunting task to address as an employer. However, with these six simple tips, you can help your employees be happier, healthier and more productive at work.
1. Encourage healthy eating habits in the workplace
Eating the right foods during the workday helps to improve mood, energy, productivity and even your bottom line—so it just makes good sense to encourage employees to eat healthy, nutritious foods while at work. Employees are more prone to make healthier eating choices when there’s convenient access to clean, nourishing meals in the workplace. Even if your company does not provide a full cafeteria, employers can still contribute to eating healthy at work. This can be achieved through having healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables in the break room, providing healthy meals for lunch meetings, having a refrigerator for employees to bring their own meals or through the convenience of an on-site, healthy vending machine that provides snacks that are simultaneously nutritious, delicious and satisfying.
2. Address and improve employee morale and mental health
Employee mental health impacts not only individual productivity and workplace satisfaction, but also the morale of the team as a whole. Open communication is perhaps one of the best ways to gain insight into your employees’ needs. Find healthy ways to address and improve any problems, such as holding polls to gain feedback on workplace morale and training employees on stress management strategies. Provide meditation time or contact with a counselor to help employees who may be struggling. Encourage a positive work-life balance to prevent burnout and create a healthy lifestyle at work.
3. Step away from traditional desks
Don’t limit your employees’ creativity by requiring them to be chained to a desk all day. Allow them to move freely around the workplace and avoid the health risks that come with sitting all day. For example, research shows that people who sit for extended periods of time (up to 11 hours per day) have an up to 67 percent greater chance of a heart attack compared to those who sit for seven to eight hours per day. So, allow employees to get creative with their seating arrangements, invest in standing desks or chair options like yoga balls and cycle chairs and provide employees adequate break time to step away from their desks and stretch their legs.
4. Encourage physical activity
Help employees avoid a sedentary lifestyle by finding fun and creative ways to promote physical activity in the workplace. Provide breaks during the workday for physical activities, such as lunchtime walks or fun events like hula hoop or jump rope contests. Consider turning a meeting into a walking meeting. Promote active transport such as biking or walking to work. If possible, provide an on-site gym or workout facility for employees to encourage them to get their blood pumping and get in at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Don’t forget to encourage regular monitoring of other aspects of employee health as well, such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol as part of an overall wellness program.
5. Promote healthy sleeping habits
Sleep is one of the most vital contributors to workplace motivation and productivity. In fact, a sleep.org study found that lack of sleep can cost businesses up to $63.2 billion dollars each year due to lost productivity. Encourage good sleep habits and avoid burnout by minimizing weekend work and encouraging your employees to turn off work communication after a certain time. Discuss the benefits of getting enough sleep each night—and maybe even encourage micronaps during breaks. Some businesses may even consider hiring a sleep expert for a lunch-and-learn or create a sleep challenge that will encourage employees to adopt better sleep habits as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
6. Create a healthy corporate culture
The best way to support employee health and wellness is to lead by example. Inspire employees to the benefits of the previous five tips by following them from the top down. That means eating healthy lunches, being open to discussing mental health, adopting an exercise routine and getting enough sleep—beginning with upper management. As employees see the dedication and feel the corporate support, it just may encourage them to follow a healthier lifestyle.