How to Encourage Your Employees to Stay Healthy

JetPay Communications

March 12, 2019

One thing all companies can benefit from, regardless of industry or size, is having a workforce made up of healthy and engaged workers. Indeed, one Gallup study found that employee illness costs US industry $153 billion every year.

Conversely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that organizations that prioritize health in the workplace experience fewer employee absences, higher rates of productivity and have less expensive health insurance premiums.

Here are some creative ideas for different things companies can do to keep their workers healthy and productive.

Create a Workplace Wellness Committee

To ensure the success of wellness programs at work, organizations must ensure that their employees are actively engaged in the process. When implemented incorrectly, wellness programs can feel off-putting, punitive or uninteresting. However, companies can avoid this problem by creating committees that allow staffers to collaborate on different ways to improve workplace wellness.

This group could be responsible for organizing everything from arranging healthy potlucks to organizing daily walking groups to setting up monthly fun runs. By centering workplace wellness programs on employee participation, companies not only increase chances of their success, but also foster a sense of camaraderie among staffers that will improve morale.

Install Treadmill/Standing Desks

As noted by the Mayo Clinic, excessive sitting increases a person’s risk factor for a number of deleterious medical conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, the increasingly digitized nature of the modern workplace means that the average American office worker sits 10 hours a day.

There are a number of different ways organizations can address the issue of excessive sitting. Companies can encourage workers to take a walk every hour, to stand while taking phone calls or hold a meeting in which staffers remain standing. However, companies looking to take a more proactive approach should consider outfitting their workers with treadmill or standing desks.

Creating work areas that allow employees to remain standing or to keep physically active throughout the day might seem prohibitively expensive. But executives should keep in mind that healthier workforces have lower rates of expensive and absence-causing sedentary lifestyle-related illnesses.

Make Healthy Snack Options Available

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just about working out more and avoiding excessive sitting. It’s also about sticking to a diet that’s rich in vegetables and lean proteins and low in prepackaged junk foods. One way employers can help their workers stick to a nutritious diet is by making healthy snack options available at the office.

While it might not seem like much, replacing candy bars with fresh fruit and granola, sodas with water and chips with nuts in the employee break room can have a significant impact on health in the workplace. The easy accessibility of healthy snack options can keep workers satiated and away from high-fat and sugary foods that can have a negative effect on productivity.

Create an On-Site Workout Area

Another way businesses can help their workforce stay healthy is to create an on-site workout area. It should be understood that this health in the workplace solution is not as expensive as it may seem. Companies with more money to spend can fill their workout areas with gym mats, a selection of weights and a few exercise bikes or treadmills. But organizations with more modest budgets could designate an empty office as a space where employees can stretch and shake off the midday slump.

Regardless of how much money is put into it, simply giving workers an area where they can engage in some daily physical activity can pay major dividends. Studies have found that midday workouts have the effect of boosting overall employee performance by as much as 15 percent.

Incentivize Health Improvement

A direct way for companies to encourage their workforces to be as healthy as possible is to incentivize their health improvement. Essentially, this means rewarding employees for achieving their specific health goals, whether that means losing a certain amount of weight or breaking a bad habit like smoking.

To get the best results, this is one of the wellness programs for which companies should utilize different incentives for different employees. For instance, a younger single employee with a long-standing cigarette addiction might be finally tempted to quit in exchange for gift cards to their favorite store. Conversely, an older employee with a family might find extra paid time off an effective incentive for them to reach their ideal body weight.

Contact JetPay today to learn more ways your organization can better utilize its human capital.

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