Small Business Brief


Wellness Tips for the Workplace: How to Encourage Healthy Choices for Your Employees

Wellness Tips for the Workplace: How to Encourage Healthy Choices

Making healthier food choices when you’re away from home is one way to lose weight without even thinking about it. Here are some wellness tips for the workplace so you can help your employees make healthier choices at work so and increase productivity.

Nearly 75% of workers are interested in having a workplace wellness program. 59% of those who have one credited it with helping them live healthier lives.

What about the company’s perspective? More than half of companies measure their programs’ effectiveness. They have found that absenteeism has decreased and employees are more satisfied.

Is your company is seeking to implement a corporate wellness program? Is it finding creative ways to encourage employees to incorporate more movement into their day? These wellness tips for the workplace should spark some ideas.

Healthy Office Equipment

Invest in office equipment that encourages exercise. Standing, stationary bike and treadmill desks don’t always burn as many calories as some would have you believe.

But they do encourage workers to walk around the office more than if they were constantly sitting. They can increase productivity for tasks that don’t require a lot of fine motor skills.

Don’t get sucked into the balance ball chair fad. Experts seem to agree that there is little to no health benefit if your employees are only using them to sit.

New office equipment can be expensive. But there are ways you can begin to incorporate it into your space.

Get one or two bikes and/or treadmill desks for the office and use a calendar function to let staff book them for an hour or so at a time.

If your company has laptops, they can easily transfer their computer to the new station. Instead, the stations can be used when people have non-computer-related tasks to complete.

You can also set aside a budget every year to offer upgrades to those that wish them on a rolling or seniority basis. Offer office equipment upgrades as incentives to reach certain goals or performance standards.

Time Off for Exercise

No matter how “healthy’ your office equipment is, it will never come close to the beneficial effects of taking time to exercise. To give your employees the full effect of exercise, allow them to take an hour off every day.

They can take that time all at once or divide it into half-hour or quarter-hour sessions. Your employees will come back refreshed, healthier, and more focused.

One study followed a company that reduced work hours to allow for exercise. The study found that productivity remained at the same level or higher than those with longer work hours and no exercise.

Also, those who exercised felt better about themselves and found themselves to be more productive and ill less often.

Movement Reminders

Encourage your employees to set a calendar or email reminder to get up and move around for five minutes every hour. The movement can be anything from going to the kitchen to get a drink, getting up to stretch at their desk, jogging in place, or taking a short stroll outside.

Before and After Exercise Programs

Your company should have the budget to book trainers to run classes before or after (or even during) the work day. It can be a convenient way for your employees to get their exercise in without having to pay for a gym membership or worry about being late for work after a gym visit.

But there are other benefits as well. Contact My Nature Choices for more info.

Working out with colleagues (and friends) adds a sense of camaraderie. The bond encourages employees to continuously exercise. It gives your employees people with whom they can share achievements.

That camaraderie leaks over into the workday and can create a stronger teamwork atmosphere among your employees.

Stress Management

Stress is one of the biggest challenges facing the American workforce today. It can lead to lower productivity, missed days, high staff turnover, and higher medical related expenses.

Your office should invest in activities that encourage movement, exercise, and mental wellness. Offer personal development classes or consultation sessions and mindfulness training. Include quiet time and flexible deadlines and schedules.

Aetna created a wellness initiative with meditation and yoga programs that has had amazing results. More than 25% of their workforce has participated in at least one wellness class. They have reported a reduction in their stress levels and pain, and improvement in their sleep quality.

Aetna also reports that their employees have also become more effective. They are averaging 62 minutes of productivity gain per week.

Active Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer programs are an important part of many company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Why not incorporate them into the wellness initiative?

A UnitedHealth survey found that 76% of volunteers felt healthier. 78% said volunteering reduced their stress levels, and 94% said volunteering improved their mood.

When coordinating company-wide volunteer opportunities, look for a mix of low-effort jobs and more strenuous activities. Everyone in your office should have a chance to participate no matter what their abilities.

If your office doesn’t have the capacity to coordinate volunteer work, offer your employees paid time off to participate in their own volunteer opportunities.

Promote Walking Meetings

Who says meetings have to be held in an office? Encourage your employees to take their small meetings on the road. Many small meetings between two or even three people can easily happen while they are walking around the neighborhood.

If they need to have access to a computer or some sitting time, encourage employees to take a laptop down to the local coffee shop, library, or other public space, so they get some movement in before and after the meeting.

Wellness Tips for the Workplace

Changing up their scenery, taking time away from the office, and moving around will help reinvigorate your employees and can have other benefits like increased creativity.

And walking side-by-side while talking helps eliminate the corporate feel of a meeting and can break down hierarchical barriers. It just feels more personable and more fun.

Hopefully, these wellness tips for the workplace have given you inspiration for your company’s corporate wellness programs and will lead to happier and healthier employees.

If you want to learn more about corporate wellness, specifically offering gym membership benefits, explore our blog.