You don't need a big budget to make your worksite a healthy place for staff and visitors. Here are some budget-friendly—and effective—employee wellness program ideas.
Start a walking group
Walking has many benefits. It reduces risks for coronary heart disease and stroke; improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profiles; enhances mental health; and reduces risks of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
Walking during the work day may have more immediate benefits. Physical activity has been linked to improved concentration, better memory recall, faster learning, enhanced creativity and reduced stress—all of which lead to better job performance. So why not round up a group of co-workers and walk together?
If you're interested in starting a workplace wellness program, or looking for new ways to encourage employees to be active during the work day, consider launching a "take the stairs" initiative.
Why take the stairs?
Walking more, in general, is one of the easiest ways to increase physical activity. It is low impact with significant rewards:
- Reduces risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and blood lipid profile
- Maintains body weight and lowers risk of obesity
Taking the stairs, more specifically, is an effective short burst of activity that increases heart and lung capacity—and burns more calories per minute than walking or jogging!
Local spotlight: American Structurepoint helps employees eat healthy with free fruit, nutrition workshops
Pop into the break room at American Structurepoint, Inc., on a Monday afternoon, and you’ll likely find employees snacking on fresh apples, pears, bananas—even kiwi—courtesy of the company.
The architecture and engineering firm on Indianapolis’ northeast side gets produce from local company Green BEAN Delivery each week and makes it available to staff at no charge as one component of its employee wellness program.
“I get notified when the delivery arrives and head to the break rooms to set everything out in baskets and crates,” says Jessica Anderson, co-chair of American Structurepoint’s Employee Wellness Committee. “Then I check on it once a day—condense containers, pull out anything that has over ripened—until it’s all gone. It’s usually gone by Wednesday or Thursday.”
Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at work and spend 25% or more of their waking hours at the office each week. There's no doubt that employers can play a vital role in promoting healthy habits for their employees and their families.
If you already have an employee wellness program—or are ready to start one—you'll want to keep these 5 tips for success in mind as you plan and implement the program.
- Get your company's leadership on board. If the CEO and other leaders are not already aware, show them that the potential return on investment for employee health programs includes reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, improved retention and recruiting, and reduced healthcare costs. Ask the top executives to participate in the effort and be role models for other employees.
Do you have a healthy workplace? Are you working to make your workplace—and your employees—healthier? We can help.
New Guides Available
We are excited to release a robust series of guides to help central Indiana employers create healthy workplaces that encourage smart nutrition and physical activity choices.
Visit the new Healthy Workplaces section of our website for an array of tools including:
2016 Year in Review - part one in a series of four
The new year brings the opportunity to pause and reflect on 2016 and our progress in reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. In this series of four Year in Review stories, we summarize some of our most significant accomplishments to date.
Jump IN’s mission is to promote policies and practices that create healthy environments where families and children have real opportunities to make healthy choices and engage in healthy behaviors.Much of Jump IN’s work is grounded in this fact:
Changing the environment is the best way to change behaviors.
Research shows that if healthy nutrition and physical activity policies can be implemented in the places where children and families spend most of their time, their health will likely improve. Here’s how we helped schools, child care centers, worksites, and family homes embed healthy nutrition and physical activity policies and practices in 2016:
Vending machines remain popular because they provide quick, convenient and inexpensive food options for users—and possibly a revenue stream for the organization hosting the machines. But they don’t have to be chocked full of candy and chips to achieve all these things.
At Jump IN for Healthy Kids, we talk a lot about what employers, schools, child care centers, places of worship, community centers and youth service providers can do to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity within their organizations. There is no doubt that what happens in these places has substantial impact on the lives of children and their caregivers.
But ultimately, we want the healthy habits established in these places to spill over into family homes as well. You can make that happen by sharing what you’re doing—as well as other tips—with the families you serve. Whether you, your workplace, school, or child care center is already a role model for healthy living or just beginning the journey to improve, there are simple steps you can take to share tips and influence the lives of children and families you know.
Actually, the general trend towards poorer health in the United States may be affecting your bottom line more than you realize. And it isn’t just your employees’ health that impacts you, but also the health of their families. Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at the workplace and spend 25% or more of their waking hours at the office each week, so it isn’t hard to imagine that habits instilled or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
But you can take simple, affordable steps to change the tide. Here are four convincing reasons to do so:
Sitting for long periods of time is hard on the body and mind. Research suggests that even short bursts of exercise are beneficial—and every bit helps add up to the 60 minutes of physical activity needed daily.
Healthy workplaces promote the “Sit for 60, Move for 3” rule, getting 3 minutes of physical activity for every 60 minutes of inactivity, especially if you sit for long stretches of time at work.
Walking is an easy way to get active. Walk or march in place while you’re on the telephone. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or emailing. Lap the building when you go to the restroom, before or after lunch and before leaving for the day. Walk to and from lunch; if you usually bring your lunch, go for a walk before and/or after eating.
Ready to do more than walk? Here are 10 easy exercises you can do at your desk or almost anywhere: