Given the number of hours that full-time employees spend in the workplace, it isn't hard to imagine that habits established or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
Employers can play a vital role in promoting healthy habits for their employees and employees' families. The returns on investment are real—less absenteeism, increased employee productivity, and reduced health care costs, to name a few.
The key is to use your existing communications tools and other simple strategies to educate and motivate employees about wellness, provide access to helpful resources, and create a workplace culture that values healthy living. Here are three ways to share information and promote healthy choices:
Local spotlight: United Way of Central Indiana employee inspires, supports co-workers
Can a single individual impact company culture enough to trigger healthier habits in the workplace? Jeffrey Wilson, administrative assistant at United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), did.
If you schedule a meeting with Jeffrey, he'll likely arrive with a simple gift for you: a bottle of water and a banana, for instance. His passion for serving others—and his commitment to UWCI's mission to help others learn more, earn more, and live safe and healthy lives—spills over into everything he does.
Four years ago, Jeffrey made a decision to improve his own health by walking daily from United Way’s office—then located near 38th and Meridian— to Butler University and back. He lost more than 25 pounds.
You don't need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get an hour of physical activity each day. You can exercise without equipment, with limited time and little space using these five activities. Try them when you need a burst of energy at work, school, home—or anywhere!
Start with your knees on the ground, feet lifted and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Put your body into a kneeling plank position. You can also do these on the wall to start or on your toes as you gain more strength.
Start by lying face down. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest and prop yourself onto your toes and forearms. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag toward the ground. These can also be done in a kneeling position. Start by holding this position for 10 seconds and work your way up to a longer time.
Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at work. Can you encourage healthy eating while being a good host in the workplace? Of course you can—and these 8 tips for catering healthy meetings can help!
1. Avoid offering meals and snacks when it is unnecessary.
Doughnuts and other snacks are likely additional empty calories for most employees, not a replacement for their usual meal or snack. If a meeting is expected to last roughly an hour or less, don't provide any food at all. Offer water, coffee, and unsweetened tea instead.
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: