Creating a Healthy Workplace Culture (Part 2)

January 13, 2019

Creating a Healthy Workplace Culture (Part 2)

If you’re committing to a healthier workplace culture this year, here are a few things that you can try out in your office.

Review your employee benefits

Some employees may not know that they have benefits or how to use them so it’s a great way to refresh people and make sure that they are utilizing all that they have available to them. You also want to make sure that your benefits package is conducive to people making positive changes. Healthy eating is a huge component to overall health, yet not all companies include Dietitian services as part of their paramedical coverage. This is a missed opportunity to provide people with the support they need to make positive changes to their diet.

Provide opportunities to learn

If your employees want to learn more about a specific topic, consult a professional and create learning opportunities for your employees. This may be in the form of an in-person lunch and learn, online seminar or course, or possibly even handouts or worksheets. Consulting a professional gives your employees the opportunity to ask questions and learn something new from a qualified source (instead of relying on Dr. Google).

Promote Movement

New research is showing that prolonged periods of sitting during the day can have a negative impact on your health, regardless of whether you exercise. This so-called sitting disease can be counteracted by allowing employees the opportunity to move more during the day. How do you do that?

Conduct walking meetings

This is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of sitting down to have a meeting, walk and talk. This may not always be feasible, but getting the blood pumping can allow for people to think and problem-solve more creatively. If you don’t like the idea of a walking meeting you can also visit a co-worker’s desk in person rather than sending an email or instant message. Any way to get up periodically and move around.

Start a walking club

Often people are more successful if they have support. Creating a walking club at work can provide employees with the motivation that they need to get outside and go for a walk. Not only does this get your employees up and moving, but it can strengthen employee relationships as it provides and opportunity for them to get to know each other better.

Create a workout space in the office

If you have the luxury of some extra space in your office, why not bring the gym to your employees? Leaving the office to exercise can be a huge barrier to your employees. By providing them a space to move more in the office allows people to fit movement into their day without having to leave the building.

Provide free or discounted gym memberships

Most offices won’t have space for a full gym. Partner up with a gym close by to offer discounted memberships to your employees. The closer it is, the more likely it is that your employees will be able to fit this into their day.

Promote Active Transport

Provide incentives for employees to walk or bike to work. How you do this will depend on your workspace, but having facilities like showers and safe bike racks/storage go a long way in promoting active transport to and from work. Some companies provide small monthly or yearly budgets for things like bike tune-ups, new runners, etc. in order to promote activity amongst their employees.

Sponsor a Team

This will really come down to knowing your employees, but if you know that your employees are interested in a particular sport, create a corporate team. This is a great way to have fun and encourage people to be active outside of work hours.

Promote Healthy Eating

What you put into your body plays a huge role in how good you feel over the course of a day. Promoting healthy eating in the office doesn’t mean that you need to start providing snacks and meals to employees. If you do already, then take a look at what’s provided. This doesn’t mean ban all high-sugar, high-fat foods, but make sure that there are healthy options that people can choose from. If you don’t provide regular food for employees, consider what is being brought to the office other times. Do you provide doughnuts for meetings? Could those be replaced with something else? At Nutrition IQ, we believe that all foods fit into a healthy diet, so the occasional doughnut or muffin is a-ok in our books, but maybe mix it up or offer people choices. Remember that you’re trying to provide employees with consistent messaging to set them up for success.

The Bottom Line

There are several ways that you can integrate health within to your organization and company culture. What works for one company may not work for another, so it’s important to consider your employees and your workspace to determine what would work best for you. Remember that if you truly are trying to encourage healthy behaviours, you must promote it and encourage utilization. A great way to do this is to lead by example. If your employees see you leaving at lunch to go for a walk, they are more likely to do it too.


References

Biswas, A. Oh, P.I, Faulkner, G.E., Bajaj, R.R., Silver, M.A., Mitchell, M.S. and Alter, D.A. (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and  Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 162:123-132.



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