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A healthy lifestyle focus is important in the workplace

August 24, 2016

B9317875534Z.1_20150626190525_000_GDOB6NB99.1-0Article courtesy of Kelly Holt for  The Tennessean.

By creating a culture of well-being for your employees, they can fulfill their lifestyle goals — even during the workday. One great opportunity to support your employees is to create a healthier physical work environment.

Employees spend on average more than 2,000 hours a year at work. That makes the office an important place to encourage healthy habits that can result in healthier and more productive employees. Here are a few ways that your work environment can boost your well-being program by supporting your employees’ health.

Support Healthy Nutrition at Work:

According to the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, we make more than 200 food choices a day. Many of those in the workplace. Stocking your office with healthy food choices you will save your employees the time and guesswork in making healthier selections. You can do this by providing healthy snacks (especially in vending machines) and making healthy options readily available in the cafeteria or break areas.

If you provide food at meetings, spend that money on healthy food that will keep employee energy levels high. You can seek out local farmer’s markets to supply local fruits and vegetables. You can even host a community supported agriculture (CSA) pick-up for employees to access local produce. Finally, consider how food choices are presented to employees, placing healthy items at eye level or first in the cafeteria line. Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PH.D., offers insight into how food presentation can influence choice.

Kelly Holt (Photo: Submitted)

Support Exercise at Work:

Consider a flex-time policy that permits employees to exercise during the day. Often, a barrier that prevents employees from being active during the workday is the employee’s level of comfort in engaging in such activities at work. If leadership sends out a clear message supporting the policy, your employees will be given the confidence they need to participate.

Employers also can help their employees exercise more often by hosting physical activity challenges. Ideas such as a company 5K, walking clubs, or hosting onsite classes such as yoga and Zumba. In addition to onsite efforts, consider promoting local greenways, subsidizing race entry fees, or partnering with a trainer at a nearby fitness center to teach employees proper techniques and exercises that can be done without special equipment.

Implement a Tobacco-Free Workplace:

Tobacco use is a modifiable health risk factor that, if addressed, can prevent or reduce the likelihood of many chronic health conditions. Making your workplace tobacco-free is the first step to encouraging tobacco users to quit. Implementing policy also protects non-tobacco users from the effects of secondhand smoke. Support employees in the challenge of quitting smoking by offering free resources, such as the State of TN Tobacco Quitline.

Remember, the most powerful thing you can do to promote a healthier, more productive workplace is to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Your employees will appreciate your efforts to support them with their well-being goals both inside and outside work.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images/iStock Photo via The Tennessean.