Canopy Health: Promoting Health in the Workforce
America is a country full of people rushing through each day, juggling work, family, and many other obligations trying to find balance. Physical health often becomes overlooked in the chaos, something to tackle once life “settles down” a bit. But life doesn’t always settle down. And amidst the turmoil of everyday life, taking care of one’s physical health might not seem important or worth the effort.
There is a solution, though: healthy lifestyle habits can start in the workplace. With so much of our time spent at work, there is no better place to promote physical health. Additionally, integrating the concept of healthy living in the workforce benefits not only the employees but the company as a whole.
Benefits of a Healthy Workforce
Most people know that eating right and exercising regularly can drastically improve one’s mood, energy levels, and general well-being. Such improvements carry over into all aspects of life, from home to social engagements to work. And being healthy isn’t just about being happy. Being healthy means less stress, more productivity, and improved quality of work.
Studies show that the benefits of creating a healthier workforce include:
- Higher job satisfaction
- Decreased absenteeism
- Lower health care costs
- Increased productivity
- Higher employee retention
Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Health Promotion states that companies who promoted health in the workforce had, “average reductions in sick leave, health plan costs, and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs of around 25%.”
Creating a Healthy Environment — At Work and At Home
The goal for employers should be to promote physical health in the workplace in such a way that employees can take what they learn at work and the healthy habits they develop home with them. The more frequently they think about healthier living, the more likely the practices are to become ingrained into their everyday life.
The following are some of the key areas to focus on and how to implement health-conscious habits at work.
You Are What You Eat
The best method for starting your company’s health initiative is to encourage better eating. This can be as simple as offering healthier food options in the vending machine and cafeteria. More in-depth programs could involve offering cooking classes, competitions, or recipe exchanges for health-friendly meals. This focus on making healthier diet decisions can easily carry over into the employees’ home lives and help them stay health-conscious, even outside of work.
Getting Fit, Bit by Bit
Many companies already offer some sort of fitness incentives, whether for a weight-loss competition, an activity challenge, or another type of initiative. While these programs are certainly effective, there are many additional options for promoting fitness in the workforce:
- Providing gym memberships or discounts
- Hosting seminars and promoting local exercising groups and activities
- Offering fitness break options such as a yoga class or walking group
- Including on-site workout spaces
Competitions are also a great way to motivate employees into exercising outside of work. Encourage employees with families to hold household competitions, too, and invite participating families to a company picnic or pizza party.
The mind is just as important as the body when it comes to creating a healthier workforce. Companies can help their employees by providing seminars or newsletters that cover stress-management techniques and tips for achieving a work-life balance. Posters and email notifications can also be used to convey the importance of good health in order to convince employees to try out the company’s various healthy living options.
Remember, good health can begin at work.
Chapman, L. (2012, April) Meta-evaluation of worksite health promotion economic return studies: 2012 update. The Art of Health Promotion. Retrieved from http://chapmaninstitute.com
Rossi, H. (2015, April 13). 5 hallmarks of successful corporate wellness programs. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/corporate-wellness/