Promoting a Healthier Workplace

Whether you are running your own business, or working for it, you may think the last thing you need to consider is health and wellness at work. However, studies have shown that stress can take a toll not only on physical and emotional health, but productivity and performance in the workplace.

Establishing a healthier work environment from the top down will increase the health and efficiency of your employees.  Workplace wellness programs encourage a healthier lifestyle that can enhance time utilization and decision making of workers.  The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce formed the Healthy Business Bloomington Initiative to help businesses promote wellness in the workplace. Businesses which implement workplace wellness programs might save when it comes to medical care costs, safety problems, and rates of absenteeism.  Even if you are not in the position to employ a comprehensive wellness plan, there are many small steps your business can take to increase the health of your workers.

1. Implement healthier eating choices. Offer your employees healthy meal and snack options that help fuel their performance while satisfying their nutritional need.  Consider replacing sodas with water, milk, or tea.  If possible, stock the break room with fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options.

2. Promote exercise. Encourage 2 minute stretch breaks every hour. Organizing regular stretch breaks provides a mental break from the work routine, which results in stress reduction.  Endorse exercising by partnering with a local gym to offer a discount for your employees. An active body is linked to an active mind, so regular exercise will increase your workers clarity and concentration.

3. Emphasize health education. Break time seminars are key opportunities for helping employees learn about healthy habits. Recruit speakers to lead session on healthy meals, stress management skills, and keeping active.  Keep sessions enjoyable but educational.

4. Be attentive of mental health. Unmanaged stress can lead to job dissatisfaction and absence from work for related health conditions. Consider offering an employee assistance program for employees who have excess stress, financial problems, or depression.  Also persuade employee to take simple steps on their own to reduce stress.

5. Make health apart of the work culture. Add healthy facts to company email and communication. Or even simpler, post healthy tips in the break room.  Building a healthy environment will result in more healthy and happy employees.

If, after trying a few ideas and trial runs, a wellness program seems right for your business, consider the Healthy Business Bloomington Initiative to help your business promote a healthier work environment.

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Adapted from “8 ways to Promote Wellness in the Workplace” by Lauren Lastowka

One thought on “Promoting a Healthier Workplace

  1. Panama

    The first key aspect of a successful worksite wellness program is to create a committee that focuses on the creation, implementation and maintenance of the program. This does not need to be a dreadful or difficult task and does not need to include only the most health conscious employees. Ideally the committee will include employees of all levels of the business hierarchy and will be comprised of people interested and excited about the idea of a worksite wellness program. The purpose of the committee is to create, initiate, evaluate and get employees to participate in the health program. By creating this group you develop ownership of the program and encourage members to look for opportunities to encourage healthier habits and behaviors. The worksite wellness committee will get “buy in” from upper-level management and participants, develop and respond to the needs of the participants and be held accountable for the management of the wellness efforts of the business. The committee should try to meet monthly at least to ensure the progress and sustainability of the program (more often would be better; less often would make it difficult to ensure success).

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