Whether working from home, stuck in the office, always on the road, or managing a business at all hours, staying fit and eating well aren’t easy. But they are perhaps easier than you think. You can improve your workplace, turning a once lackadaisical environment into a healthy office. Changes to the work schedule, layout, equipment, and attitude will reshape the productivity of your business and make employees more alert, more energized, and less prone to illness.
Hibernation is over. Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner! It’s time to spend some of that energy, get the ants out of your pants, and get in shape with these five surprisingly easy steps.
Get on your feet. Seriously, do it. Right now, as you’re reading this. That feels better, doesn’t it? You feel more alert already, don’t you? Standing desks aren’t just a fad, they have a measurable impact on the wakefulness and productivity of your workforce. It’s best to encourage a good mix of sitting and standing throughout the day, as even standing in one place for eight hours can put wear on one’s body over time.
Some naysayers also argue that standing all day is not healthy without the accompaniment of exercise. Luckily, that can be easily arranged. You can maximize your employees’ time by encouraging the use of analog treadmills and mini exercise bikes. These can be easily stored under desks at the end of the day and used periodically. This equipment will give workers with restless leg syndrome an outlet and open up the window of possibilities during office hours.
Fit employees tend to be healthy. Going to the gym at least a few times a week goes hand-in-hand with less frequent doctor visits. Which saves the company money – a day without an employee means you not only pay their time off but lose the work they had planned. Even if your PTO plans pay out annually, it’s better to mitigate sick days and opt for scheduled, predictable vacation time. To avoid epidemics around the office and encourage fitness, offer a company discount at certain gyms.
Many nation-wide fitness centers partner with local businesses and corporate entities regularly, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a plan that works for your organization. Some companies simply offer to expense or subsidize employee gym memberships no matter which gym they go to. The latter is ideal when your employees are commuting from all over town and have different levels of access to different gym chains.
Weight loss bonuses are usually seen as unethical in any workplace: these contests don’t take into account employees who are already at a healthy weight for their body type or who have preexisting conditions. Healthier, more inclusive alternatives are fun runs or walk-a-thons. These events encourage exercise and get employees out of the office. Everyone can find a way to participate and set their own pace to match their ability. It’s not a race – it’s a team event, and everyone is on the same team!
Also remember that a healthy group event can be anything from mental exercise to team building to good old fresh air. When the weather permits, bring your employees outside of the cramped, dimly lit office. Go for a walk or a hike. You could set up a corporate retreat at a camp ground or state park, including grilled fish, chicken, and veggies, as well as some inclusive contests and team building exercises. For mental exercise, some companies spoil their employees by syncing this up with a physical activity like paintball or scavenger hunts. If your office doesn’t have this kind of event budget, consider opening weekly meetings with math puzzles or logic problems, perhaps over a bowl of fresh fruit.
Even though weight loss is a mistaken meter for healthy living, nutritional diet is not. And anyone can modify their own unique eating habits or restrictions to become healthier. If money is tight for certain employees, consider bringing in fruit and vegetables for the whole office. A raw veggie platter with some hummus can be a real treat! Or host a potluck and encourage nutritious dishes that your team can feast on without worrying about calories or cholesterol.
If you have a little extra money for corporate events, consider a catered lunch from a restaurant known for their organic ingredients and wholesome meals. Contrariwise, some organizations take their employees to lunch at locations with a balanced, nutritious salad bar. Combining our idea for an outdoor activity, a catered or potluck picnic is an option worth exploring.
As a manager, director, or executive, you want your employees to respect you and your administrative decisions. However, even if your subordinates work well with you and follow directions, they may be uninterested in following advice that is not work-related. In this case, there are many experts available to impart health education. Consider contacting a local clinic or specialist. They can send a representative to go over nutrition, fitness habits that can be followed in the workplace, and other tips and instructions. You could even make a deal with a local gym – if they send a trainer to give some workout and stretching demonstrations, they can plug their gym at your office and leave behind information pamphlets.
Staying Healthy in Any Environment
Your workplace doesn’t have to be sedentary and mindless. Encouraging your employees to get outside, try new and healthier foods, enjoy the occasional meal out, run for a good cause, and explore new activities will transform any stuffy row of cubicles into a fun place to spend forty-plus hours per week. Start with these five solutions for increasing the wellness of your office. Then try adding some of your own ideas. All of this fitness and exercise will get the juices flowing!