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15 Ways to Promote a Healthier Workforce

Posted on June 18, 2014

The summer flu is upon us! Luckily, June is National Employee Wellness month which helps business leaders learn how companies can successfully engage employees in healthy lifestyles. This helps create a healthy company culture and also drives down healthcare costs.

87.4 percent of employees state that wellness positively impacted work culture, an increase of 10 percent from 2013 (Virgin Pulse.)

When your company and the people within it make health and wellness a priority, it can help drive your company’s larger engagement strategy.

Here are some tips you can share with your employees to make their work days healthier:

1. Take your lunch break outside.

It’s a nice change of scenery (rather than sitting at your desk and starting at a computer screen) and it gives you an opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D.

2. Use an exercise ball instead of a chair.

Confused why your co-worker is sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair? They might actually have it right: making this switch can tighten your core and help with posture.

3. Stop IM-ing and move.

Instead of emailing the person in the office directly next door, get up and relay the message in person. Your legs will appreciate the extra steps.

4. Opt for a non-traditional meeting.

Have a one-on-one meeting in the books? Try making it a walking meeting and take a stroll around the neighborhood.

5. Don't forget hydration.

Avoid dehydration and plan ahead by bringing a few water bottles to work. Try and finish them before leaving—it’s recommended to get around 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated.

6. Keep portion controlled snacks on hand.

You can put these together yourself using foods such as: granola bars, fruits, or small bags of nuts/snack mix. Avoid large bags of processed foods; this can lead to mindless snacking.

7. Bring your lunch.

Putting together a salad or leftovers together at home can save time, money and is usually much healthier than the cafeteria. Here are some simple and easy lunch recipes.

8. Take regular breaks, and real ones!

Get up from your desk and do something other than sit in the same spot for 8 hours. This can help avoid mental fatigue, one of the biggest productivity killers.

9. Find alternate transportation.

If you live close enough, walk or bike to work. It’s suggested that you should get 30 minutes of exercise in daily, so why not kill two birds with one stone.

10. Check your posture.

Sitting hunched over for long periods of time can cause back and neck problems. Make sure you’re sitting close to your workstation and both feet are on the floor (crossing your legs can reduce circulation!)

11. Try out a standing workstation.

It not only improves your health but it also may increase your productivity. Since you aren’t lounging in a chair anymore, you are more aware of what you are doing and how long it takes you to do it.

12. Adopt a plant.

Sometimes we all have those dreary days (or winters.) Bringing a little greenery into your workspace can liven up any lackluster office. Bonus: they can enhance air quality with that whole photosynthesis thing :)

13. Office fitness challenges.

These can be competitive (first person to 10,000 steps in a day) or not (pledge to walk home every night.) This bands everyone together and creates an active company culture.

14. Suggest a napping policy.

Don’t you miss the days of kindergarten where you got to recharge and were ready to take on the rest of the day?Studies show a short mid-afternoon nap can be just the thing you need. Google has embraced it, so why shouldn’t you.

15. Take your sick days.

Whether it’s a mental health day or you are contagious, everyone needs a break to rest and recuperate. Nobody wants your flu.

The healthier your workforce is the more likely they are to perform well. The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways, found that workers who had better job performance and lower absenteeism were the ones who ate healthy and exercised on a regular basis.

If your company doesn't already have a wellness initiative in effect, then there is no time like the present. For more information on how to get started see: National Employee Wellness Month.

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