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How to Cultivate a Healthy Workplace in 2016

December 30, 2015


frank_buonocoreAfter the ball has dropped and glitter has settled, people start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions.  From exercising to dieting, personal development and health tend to be the focus of most goals. However, given the amount of time Americans spend working, a new year also presents an opportunity for businesses to support their employees as they strive to live healthier lives.

Not only do workplace health programs boost employee morale and company reputation, but they can have the added benefit of a healthier workforce with fewer absences and chronic illnesses.  This also translates to less demand for health services associated with lifestyle risks like inactivity and obesity.

 You don’t have to roll out an official wellness program to help your employees be healthier in 2016.  Here are four tips for creating a healthy work environment:

  1. Get active. Help employees incorporate activity into their workday.  Hold walking meetings or encourage employees to form a lunchtime or pre or post-work walking group.  If you have the budget, give employees an activity tracker, which allows them to see their progress and can foster healthy competition (ie – tallying which department has the most steps).
  2. Clear out the junk. If you have a cafeteria or vending machinesAssorted Donuts on white, make sure there are healthy food options available and provide employees with free filtered water.  Similarly, skip the donuts and choose healthy snacks and lunches for office celebrations.  If you have outdoor space, you can institute a workplace community garden for employees to plant and cultivate vegetables.
  3.  Provide a healthy environment, education and resources.  From holding seminars on weight management or healthy eating, to offering an onsite gym or walking trail, to featuring health tips, recipes and employee success stories in employee newsletters, to ensuring the office environment has sunlight, plants and ergonomic options (think standing desk stations and active desk chairs), make sure the environment your employees are working in promotes healthy living.
  4.  Help manage stress.  Encourage employees to disconnect from work at the end of the day and ensure leadership leads by example and doesn’t require employees to always be “on,” which can lead to burn out and illness. If budgets allow, bring in an expert to teach meditation or yoga.

To find out what resources or programs would work best for your workplace, ask your employees for input.  You don’t have to spend a lot to provide a healthy work environment and any investment you make will pay you back in the form of a healthier, more energetic and productive workforce.

Frank Buonocore, jr., CPCU

Senior Vice President

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