Are You a Happy Employee?

Healthy employees are happy employees

It’s the hottest thing in business. Workplace Health Programs. All the big companies have something in place. On-site gyms, healthy snacks, standing desks, treadmill desk and bicycle desks. Ok, maybe not the last two. But encouraging healthy choices is important. There are benefits for both the employers and the employees.

According to the CDC, adopting healthy behaviors not only reduces risk for developing disabling or life threatening diseases and their associated costs, but improves everyday quality of life. Employers can benefit from workplace health programs through enhanced productivity, decreased employee absenteeism and lower insurance and workers compensation costs.

Here are some ideas that you can implement that don’t require leasing another floor in your building to build a gym.

There are a couple of areas you can focus on to put together a workplace wellness program. There is the physical, nutrition, stress management and support programs.
PHYSICAL

  • Encourage employees to walk to a specific location and log individual miles for incentive prizes.
  • Participate in community walks (i.e., March of Dimes or walks for heart disease or cancer). Ask your company to sponsor employee participants or to match employee contributions.
  • Offer incentives for employees who walk or bicycle to work.
  • Suggest that employees stretch for one minute before work each day. Announce a one minute stretch on the intercom system.
  • Start a running, biking, walking or line dancing club.
  • Negotiate corporate discounts for health club memberships.
  • Give employees access to a corporate account to a fitness program (DailyBurn is a great one that offers multiple levels of intensity and styles.)

NUTRITION

  • Ask your vending machine company to add healthy foods.
  • Place incentive stickers on low-fat items in vending machines and on healthy choice selections in the cafeteria.
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy food choices, fruit baskets, nuts and protein bars.
  • Develop a cookbook of employees’ low-fat recipes, exchange recipes and feature healthy employee recipes periodically on the cafeteria menu.
  • Sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and let employees choose from the weekly selections.

STRESS MANAGEMENT

  • Take stress relief breaks (i.e., meditation, walking or just closing the office door). Encourage employees to take time for themselves.
  • Encourage staff to take meal breaks or to leave the office or their computer during lunch time.

PROGRAM SUPPORT

  • Provide incentives such as biggest loser T-shirts, caps or pins, for their successful accomplishments.
  • Hold contests: “Wellness Project of the Month” or “Set Your Goal” competition, employee/management and interdepartmental challenges, health trivia game with prizes and other fun worksite competitions.
  • Kick off “lunch and learn” programs. Use videos and guest speakers on various health topics at lunchtime. Urge employees to bring a healthy brown bag lunch.
  • Provide flu shots at the worksite or make schedules of community clinics available.
  • Conduct employee health fairs with wellness giveaways (i.e., gift certificates to a farmers market or fruit stand).
  • Provide health information (such as fact sheets) for employees to take home. Distribute safety information before long holiday weekends.