Improving Employee Health At The Office

by | May 31, 2022

Did you know that 75% of corporate health care costs are spent on treating chronic diseases? What’s worse is that absenteeism and productivity losses related to employee health cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year — which can take quite the toll over time. Luckily, many of these health issues are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. That’s why you need to build a company culture that prioritizes health and encourages employees to make those better choices. 

Make Healthy Snacking Easy.

Entrepreneur hands holding snack bar working on laptop

The World Health Organization found that proper nutrition can raise national productivity levels by 20%, so be picky when selecting foods to have available at the office. If you offer snacks at your office, provide both delicious and nutritious options. Things like nuts, fruit, and sliced veggies make for great healthy snacks, and they’re often inexpensive as well. 

What you offer is an important piece of the in-office nutrition puzzle, but what you don’t offer is equally important. Treats like cake, doughnuts, and pizza are fine for special occasions, but they can often lead to unnecessary temptation if offered too frequently. The last thing you want is to foster an environment where people feel pressured to partake in unhealthy foods in order to participate in celebrations or special occasions. So, if you’re getting lunches catered in, offer healthy options. 

Provide The Right Tools.

Man Using Adjustable Height Standing Desk In Office For Good Posture

Living an active lifestyle can be difficult when you sit behind a desk. However, a variety of tools can provide your employees an opportunity to keep moving — even while sitting. This pedal exerciser provides an easy and inexpensive solution to encourage light exercise for your employees all day long. You can find more expensive variations of this product plus biking desks and standing desks

You can also encourage your staff with tools that go beyond the office. The easiest way to do this is to offer a health stipend or gym membership to your employees in your benefits package. 

Get Your Staff Moving During The Day.

Young colleagues having yoga and relaxing in the office

If you want your employees to start taking steps to exercise more often, you have to make it easy for them. We’ve all heard of major corporations that offer exercise classes in-office. While that may sound like a daunting (and expensive) perk, it’s actually easier than you think. With an open space and the expertise of one of your employees, you too can begin offering yoga and Pilates classes during your company’s lunch break. The best part? This can be marketed as a highly attractive and unique perk of your business to attract (and keep) high-quality employees.

If that sounds like too much of a leap at your office, you can start a “walking group.” A couple times a day (weather permitting), you can get a group of coworkers together to go for a short 10-minute walk around the block. Contrary to popular belief, these sorts of short, frequent breaks can actually improve worker productivity. Not to mention the social aspect of taking walks can result in a better, more cohesive company culture. 

Create A Strong Culture. 

Success in any endeavor starts with a strong support system. If you want your efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles for your employees to succeed, you have to create a health-conscious culture at the workplace. 

What does that mean, practically speaking? 

Woman eating natural protein food from container at office table, top view

Creating a health-centered culture doesn’t include shaming, badgering, or excluding people who don’t want to participate. It does mean catering healthy and tasty lunch options, offering optional activities your employees can participate in, and stressing the importance of employee well-being. Remember, a culture of health is not a coercive culture. It’s merely one that offers a lot of health-centered options and encourages participation in a low-pressure manner. 

By creating a health-centered workplace culture and providing your employees with the right tools to make healthy choices, you can improve your company’s productivity, profit margins, and overall culture. So, take the time to brainstorm how you can improve your company’s health focus, both inside and outside the workplace.

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