Although your employees ultimately are responsible for their own health, you can give them a hand by creating a work environment and culture that is conducive to making and maintaining positive health choices.
You may say, “If they aren’t motivated, there isn’t much I can do!” However, the reality is that for many employees, their employer is the most reliable source for information on many topics—including how to get and stay healthy. Realize the power that you have to help your employees live better and use it to help create a win for you, too!
According to research from Limeade, employees’ top three health and well-being goals are to lose weight, have more energy and sleep well. Here are five tips that you can incorporate into your benefit programs, communications and culture to help them meet those milestones.
1. Encourage physical activity
Whether it’s walking, taking stretch breaks, using a yoga ball instead of a chair, making stairwells accessible or opening an onsite fitness facility, the results ring true. The more opportunities you give your employees to get activity during the workday, the more they will take advantage of them.
Short activity breaks can help with not only fitness, but increased energy and creativity, too. Plus, working out regularly can help you sleep better and feel more rested. To nudge employees along, you can also offer virtual or in-person coaching sessions, peer support and employees fitness club and weight-loss reimbursements to provide incentive to lose weight and get and stay fit.
2. Trash the junk food
In other words, practice what you preach. If you are continually telling employees to eat healthy, but your onsite cafeteria and vending machines are full of candy, chips and soda, employees may doubt your sincerity. If you’re working and hungry, you reach for what’s in front of you. Replacing junk food with healthy snacks can make a huge difference.
3. Ditch the devices
Laptops, remote network access, smartphones, tablets and more all have helped us stay more connected and more productive! However, that constant connectivity can also prevent employees from resting—and rest is essential to productivity as well. A new labor agreement in France requires employees in the technology and consulting industries to disconnect from email after hours. Although the agreement applies to just a fraction of employees, the message should resonate with employers across the globe: “Obsessive email behavior is damaging our collective well-being and impairing our ability to focus.”
Take a note from the French and draw up some guidelines about when your employees should use their devices and encourage them to unplug during off hours. Again, practice what you preach and encourage supervisors to do so, too.
4. Build in breaks
Create a work environment where it is okay for employees to take a few minutes to hang out on a beanbag chair and relax, chat with a colleague or take a walk. Those moments won’t detract from work; rather, infusing more fun in the workday will help employees stay more energized and focused throughout the day. Not sure how to get started? Get inspired, as we are, by The Energy Project. Founded by Tony Schwartz, the initiative aims to find better ways of working, so that your employees—and your business—become more energized, engaged, focused and productive.
5. Call it a day, and hit the hay
Good sleep—much like energy—can be hard to come by, but it’s one of the most important elements of good health. Sleep allows us to de-stress, recharge our bodies and reenergize our minds. Helping employees achieve better sleep could be one of the missing pieces to your wellness program. As companies begin to acknowledge the important tie between sleep and increased productivity and better health overall, many wellness companies are starting to focus on teaching ways to get better rest, helping employees and employers.