Most employers spend a lot of money and resources to make sure their employees have solid health benefits. A full-coverage medical care plan and paid sick leave are standard workplace perks for a reason.
That said, the workplace itself can lead your employees to live unhealthy lives.
- A high-stress environment
- Unhealthy eating
- Constant sitting and inactivity
An unhealthy work environment can have major consequences on the physical and emotional wellbeing of your employees.
When your employees are healthy, illnesses decrease which in turn means absenteeism goes down, productivity goes up, and stress is lowered.
Here are a few relatively inexpensive ways to encourage employee wellness.
Encourage Employees to Bring Food from Home
The best way to beat the afternoon slump is to encourage your employees to eat healthy meals throughout the day. Restaurants tend to add a high volume of salt, sugar, and MSG to their meals, leaving employees feeling tired and lethargic after their lunch break. Stock your breakroom with a refrigerator, microwave, and toaster so your employees can bring food from home.
One reason employees like to eat at restaurants is to get away from their desks and feel like they’re taking an actual break. If there is space, create a designated area where employees can step away from their desks to eat.
Make Healthy Snacks Accessible
If you have a vending machine at your worksite, consider offering healthy snacks. Include popular items with high nutritional value like nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars. You don’t have to go overboard and ban all chips and candy bars, but giving your employees a variety of options allows them to make healthier choices.
Long meetings can also be a culprit for mindless snacking and overindulgence. When snacks are needed at a meeting, skip the donuts and opt for something more nutritious. Fresh fruit, whole grain crackers, or granola bars can keep your employees full and alert.
Host Standing or Walking Meetings
The average person sits up to 12 hours every day. That’s more time spent sitting than sleeping! The next time you schedule a meeting, have all employees stand or go for a walk around the block. There are many benefits to walking meetings. Physical activity promotes health and energy, a change of scenery can boost creativity, and stepping away from a stressful environment leads to better communication.
Offer Gym Access as Part of Your Benefits Package
At ALTRES, one of the most popular benefits for in-house staff is the on-site gym. It makes it easy for employees to get some exercise during the workday and come back after their break feeling refreshed and ready to work.
Not every company has the space or resources to host their own gym or fitness classes. But it is easy to partner with different facilities to offer your employees a corporate gym rate. 24 Hour Fitness, UFC Gym, and Pacific Island Fitness are just a few gyms that work with companies to get their employees discounted rates.
Fund Employee Sports Teams for Charity Events
Not only can your team get some good exercise while raising money for a good cause, spending time together doing physical activities can foster teamwork, conversation, and connection—all important things needed to build a successful team!
Offer On-site Flu Shots
When your employees are making unhealthy choices, their immune system is lowered making it easy to catch an illness.
Every year the flu is responsible for 17 million lost workdays. That’s a big loss for employers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccinations as the first and best way to prevent the flu. Vaccinated employees typically have up to 45% fewer lost workdays.
While you may be hard pressed to convince your employees to take time out of their weekend to get a flu shot, local pharmacies are usually willing and available to come to your worksite and administer flu vaccinations to your employees at a minimal cost.
Workplace wellness may take a little effort to get going, but it supports a healthier workforce and helps build a supportive culture of people with “can do” attitudes. Wellness programs are also a key factor in employee engagement, making them a smart move for employers in a competitive market.