Piece by Piece: Building a Healthy Workplace

Healthy habits start small. A walk in the park. Eight glasses of water a day. Fresh fruits and veggies. But those small habits make a big impact when it comes to overall health. One walk a day leads to three or four walks a week, which can lead to weight loss or a reduced risk of health factors over time.

The best part? Changes in health and fitness have a ripple effect in a broader impact for a person’s life. By drinking more water, someone might save money and lose weight. This small change can give them the ability to buy a few pieces of their wardrobe in a smaller size or donate to a nonprofit organization that they’ve always wanted to help. Sometimes it all starts with helping others focus on small ways to be more active and healthy.

In recent years, health and fitness related benefits have become a priority, particularly among millennial employees. Gym memberships, HSA funding and chiropractic services are among the most common, but there are many opportunities for HR departments to create a health and fitness-oriented workplace.

Embracing healthy, lifelong habits into workplace culture is crucial to the well-being of a company. Studies show people who regularly consume fruits and vegetables tend to perform 25% more productively than those who do not eat right and exercise regularly. Healthy people also have stronger immune systems, better memory recall and manage stress better, reducing presenteeism, absenteeism and burnout.

Every organization has their own needs and priorities, but here are four building blocks for a healthier workplace.

Educate employees about the impact of health and fitness

It isn’t news that eating well and exercising regularly is good for you, but not everyone understands just how much it can impact all aspects of life. Provide information about how health and fitness affect mood, immune system, productivity, stress and sleep.

Break it down into micro steps

Big goals can be overwhelming to start. For example, someone who learns that they’re at risk of developing diabetes may not know where to begin in reducing that risk. Survey your people for their most common health goals and help them break each one into small, manageable steps. Using the example above, a good first step would be to replace sugary drinks with water or tea.

Make it easily accessible

For Human Performance programs to succeed, they must be easy to access. Ask your people how they best learn about what’s happening at your company. It can be email, other internal communications platforms, or posters around the coffee machine. Use those channels to deliver information and news such as upcoming fitness events, screenings or healthy lunch options at work.

Celebrate efforts and accomplishments

Changing behavior is very difficult. Encourage employees to continue creating pathways to life-long healthy habits by recognizing their efforts and accomplishments in health and fitness, as well as all areas of life.

There are many ways to encourage employees to be healthier, but the most effective and seamless way to affect change is to work with the right well-being program for you. Learn more about how our Human Performance experience is helping people achieve over 80,000 goals a year.