Many of us celebrate the New Year by adopting a resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. A supportive work environment can go a long way to successfully sticking to them! As an employer, there are many ways you can encourage your employees (and yourself) to achieve those goals:
1) Make it easy to choose healthy options. Fill vending machines with healthy selections. Instead of sodas, offer free bottled water to promote hydration. When planning food for company events, offer fruits and veggies instead of donuts and chips.
2) Offer an exercise program. Organize small group walking clubs, or install exercise equipment at the office. It is important to allow employees the time to participate. Offer a longer lunch break so workers have time to eat and exercise. Consider giving hourly employees an extra hour of pay to use for exercise. The key is to allow your employees to be healthy while being productive for your company.
3) Create incentive programs. Put together a company Wellness Committee and charge them with building creative challenges for your organization. For example, start a walking challenge, outfitting everyone with a pedometer and setting up a fun goal to achieve. How many steps would it take to walk from your office to Key West, FL? Break those steps down into a daily challenge or another metric. Hold a celebration and announce the prize-winners at the end. With these programs, all participants ultimately win because they feel better, which gives them incentive to continue the program after it is over.
4) Negotiate discounted rates with a local exercise center. Many gyms have corporate rates for businesses that will bring in a group of employees as members. You can pass these discounted rates on to your employees, or have your company pay the membership fee.
5) Educate your employees along the way. Little reminders can go a long way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Next to your free bottled water place a sign about the benefits of staying hydrated. Leverage lunch and learn talks offered by local associations like the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association or the American Arthritis Association. Invite these organizations to come to your site and speak to your employees about managing their health issues.
6) Start a company Weight Watchers program. Hire Weight Watchers to hold weekly onsite group meetings specifically for your employees. The program does not have to be just about weight loss. Weight Watchers promotes healthy eating and nutrition, and could help employees maintain their already healthy weight. The organization also has a robust online solution that coincides with their face-to-face program.
7) Maximize your Employee Assistance Programs. If you offer EAPs, you can maximize your benefits by accessing stress management training. Stress is linked to various diseases, and promoting better stress management can lead to healthier life choices. Include topics that address major life changes like raising children or taking care of elder parents. Financial wellness is another universal subject.
Finally, it is important to note that company-wide programs are only successful if the leadership is heading the charge. When top decision-makers take the steps to be healthy, the message resonates with the rest of the organization. Leading by example is the most powerful key to successful company wellness programs. Want to learn more about creating a healthy workplace? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.