As of late, health and wellness issues are so prevalent, they almost seem like a trendy fad. Labels everywhere proudly proclaim to be USDA organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, all natural, minimally processed, and more. Honestly, it’s intimidating to keep up with it all.
But no matter how intimidating it all may seem, it’s clear that Americans do truly desire to be healthy. According to a recent Nielsen report, “American consumers overwhelmingly aspire to lead healthy lives. 89% admit that taking personal responsibility for one's health is the best way to [accomplish this].”
So, what does all of this have to do with the business world? Statistics consistently prove that businesses who promote a healthy work environment will enjoy numerous, far-reaching benefits. These benefits include increased employee productivity and performance, as well as lower insurance rates.
In addition, consider the following evidence: Employees who take advantage of work-sponsored health programs are three times more likely to be engaged and satisfied in their jobs. Research also proves that these types of employees typically miss 70% fewer workdays that were previously due to poor health habits. Not to mention, employees who are aware that their employers care about their health are likely to have high levels of loyalty to their management teams, as well as to their company as a whole.
And the cherry on top for business owners? Promoting a healthy workplace does not have to break the bank! There are many ways to accomplish this at little to no cost.
Here are a few practical tips for promoting a healthy and happy workplace.
1. Create a small gym in the workplace.
The smallest additions to your workplace can create a big effect for your team. Clearing a room in your office building where employees can go to take breaks, pick up their heart rate, and even engage in small workouts throughout the day can greatly increase productivity in your staff. By no means does this need to be a workout room for macho gym-rats; simply providing a couple of sets of dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands can go a long way!
2. Replace sugary snacks with healthier alternatives.
Encourage your staff to create a healthy lifestyle by replacing those sugary cupcakes brought in for birthdays, with a healthier alternative, like an edible arrangement. Go to your local wholesaler and stock up on items such as fruits and nuts for your team to snack on throughout the day. In addition, once a month, you could have your team bring in their favorite nutritious dish to share together, while subsequently supporting each other.
Once a month at Zimmer, we offer a cake or cupcakes in honor of any birthdays that occurred in that month; however, in an effort to encourage healthier choices, we have recently begun to include fruit in that line-up. We believe that simple additions like this communicate to employees that we support and respect health and wellness goals.
3. Invite a nutritionist and/or trainer to stop by.
Consider inviting a nutritionist or a workout instructor to your office once or twice a month. Bringing in authorities on these subjects further inspires employees to make health-conscious adjustments to their eating and fitness habits. This also shows your employees that you care enough to enlist the advice of experts in order to help them succeed.
4. Create an open dialogue for easy communication.
Encourage open communication about health-related topics amongst your employees. Business leaders should warmly welcome the support that coworkers can bring to each other. Achieving a lasting lifestyle change is different for each person so having that support and encouragement is extremely important.
5. Make a friendly competition out of it.
Another fun way to promote a health-conscious workplace is by starting some sort of friendly fitness competition. At Zimmer, we started an annual competition called, “Zimmer Gets Slimmer.” This contest consists of teams who compete to lose the most pounds in a 3-month span. Some coworkers even step up to help “coach” the teams by providing motivational words, tips, exercise suggestions, and even food. We provide a cash prize at the end of the contest to really motivate the teams to take it seriously.
We also created a Facebook group for this competition where team members can post helpful photos and words of encouragement (and of course, some friendly smack talk!).
All in all, “Zimmer Gets Slimmer” is always a huge success that brings our team closer together, while promoting health-conscious values.
Good things come from catering to the overwhelming American desire to lead healthier lifestyles. No matter which route a business takes to encourage a healthy workplace, the important thing to remember is that implementing such a system is sure to boost employee productivity and overall comradery. Remember: Happy and healthy employees typically bring in highly satisfied customers.