Since May is Global Employee Health and Fitness month, employers should encourage and provide employees with ways to incorporate healthy living into their work lives. While it is important to promote a healthy lifestyle, this can be a touchy topic for some people. To respect your employees’ boundaries, Bigger Brains is bringing you some quick Do’s and Don’ts for celebrating global employee health and fitness month.
With the warm summer months approaching, now is an excellent time to encourage employees to spend time outside. One way to do this is to provide workstations outside the office. A workstation could be a covered awning with electrical outlets for employees to plug in their devices. Having areas like this outside of the office allows employees some freedom in how they spend their day at work. Additionally, encouraging employees to spend time outside will enable them to receive fresh air and vitamin D.
Promote Walking Meetings
Walking meetings are a fun and simple way to shake up your day. Instead of hosting a meeting in a conference room, encourage employees to discuss meeting material while walking around the office. This walk could be around the office floor or outside the office building instead. Walking meetings allow employees to get some steps in and take a break from sitting all day.
Provide Healthy Snack Options
Another way to encourage employee health and fitness is to provide healthy snacking options in the breakroom. Some healthy snacking options may include apple sauce packs, carrots and dip, apple slices, and chips and hummus. It is crucial that whatever snacks you provide are individually packaged to eliminate the chance of cross-contamination with break food. Additionally, while providing some healthy options is important, it is crucial to remember that not every employee may want to participate in the health and fitness month. To satisfy office needs, have a balanced mix of healthy and regular snacks.
Provide Beneficial Tools
Some ways to encourage better health and fitness lifestyles may be as simple as providing the correct tools for your office. One tool that could benefit your office is a standing desk. These desks allow computer monitors and keyboards to lift off the desk, allowing employees to stand and work. Another tool that could benefit employee health is blue-light-blocking glasses. These glasses are great for employees who spend most of their days looking at computer screens. The blue lights emitted from computer screens can hurt people’s eyes and cause unnecessary strain. Providing employees with these tools shows that you care about them as people and not just employees.
Encourage Mindfulness Breaks
Part of Global Employee Health and Fitness month is encouraging employees to prioritize their mental health in addition to physical health. To help improve mental health, encourage employees to take mindfulness breaks. We all can agree that sometimes the office can be overwhelming. Allowing employees to take a break and take a quick walk, do some stretches in their cubicles, or do some exercises in an empty conference room can improve your work culture.
While there are many things that you can provide for employees to encourage their health and fitness, there are some things that you should not do as an employer.
Implement a Weight Loss Challenge
While this may seem like a way to encourage health and fitness, it is not your place to implement a challenge like this for all employees. As an employer, you are not aware of all the experiences your employees have had. Additionally, you may not be familiar with an employee’s previous relationship with food. Some employees may have battled with eating disorders in the past, and a companywide weight loss challenge may negatively affect their mental health. Additionally, some employees may have medical reasons for losing or gaining weight, and they should not be forced to disclose that information unless they desire to.
Make Comments about Employee Food
What an employee brings for lunch to the office is their concern. Making comments about how an employee’s meal may or may not be healthy does zero good and much harm. Similarly to the reasons above, employees may have several reasons for eating the food they do. Maybe it’s all they could afford, and perhaps they have food allergies. No matter your intention, unless someone asks for your opinion on their meal, it is better to keep those comments to yourself.
Encourage Diet Culture
A final health and fitness idea that employers should not implement in the office is encouraging a diet culture. If you would like to celebrate Global Employee Health and Fitness month by going on a diet, go ahead. Remember that just because something may be helpful for you doesn’t mean that it would benefit someone else. Remember that you may not know someone’s past or how a suggestion to go on a diet may impact their self-confidence.
The best way to help your employees during Global Employee Health and Fitness month is to be there for them. Encourage their general wellbeing instead of focusing on physical results.