Healthy employees are great for business. You’ll be worrying less with minimal losses to productivity from either sick leave or lack of focus in the office. But we can all struggle at times to commit to physical fitness and healthy practices. As an employer, here are five things you can do to improve your workspace and bring a positive impact on the wellness of your people.
Improve the layout
You can remind employees to walk up a couple of flights for exercise, but if your stairwell is dim or uninviting, they’ll probably take the elevator to the second floor anyway. Sometimes, a simple change in layout or reworking your interior design is what your office space needs to make various areas more attractive.
For instance, with some innovative design for your stairs, you can add indoor plants and better lighting, making it pleasant and enticing for employees to head up. Similar measures can be taken to improve landscaping and encourage short walks.
Incorporate activity into work
Many studies have linked the sedentary lifestyle of office workers to poor health and numerous ailments; over the years, this has led to ergonomic improvements in office equipment to reduce the risk of lower back strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and the like. But these features don’t tackle the root of the problem.
Address the real issue by involving physical activity in regular working tasks. Standing desks, for example, have been shown to promote productivity. Take walking meetings instead of booking the conference room as usual, and your team can take some fresh air and exercise along with the day’s agenda.
Set up an office gym
Some companies offer free or discounted gym memberships to their workers, but that approach mostly works for people who are already highly committed to fitness; most will come up with some sort of excuse and not avail of the facilities.
The solution? Bring the gym to the office. A simple room with a treadmill or stationary bike, plus a rowing machine and dumbbells or other weights, is a great way to start; you can bring in more equipment later on. Schedule workouts as part of the day, perhaps as part of a lunch-hour workout program, and you can ensure compliance with your wellness drive.
Offer quality food options
Exercise is only part of the equation when it comes to wellness. Proper nutrition is also essential, and unfortunately, many office workers buy unhealthy food. You can’t dictate people’s food choices, but don’t let a lack of options be the reason why they aren’t eating well. A case study in Hawaii showed that offering healthy options through additional vendors, along with signage indicating which offerings were healthy or not, significantly influenced employees’ food choices.
Each individual has different levels of fitness and health awareness, so build a culture of health and wellness that promotes healthy behaviour and unambiguously encourages workers to be open about their wellness concerns and improve their health. As a leader, you play a crucial role in developing this culture. By participating in the same initiatives and maybe bringing your workout to the office, you can best demonstrate your support for everyone’s fitness goals.
By taking these first steps, you’ll be able to lay the foundations of wellness for your employees and improve everyone’s collective health and performance at your company.