January 19, 2016

How the Workplace Can Contribute to Better Employee Health

by TrueNorth Desks

Most workplaces don’t encourage employees to be active and healthy. They just aren’t set up that way, because the focus is to create an environment that allows people to work. In fact, the majority of companies make it nearly impossible for those employees who are interested in getting healthy to do so. They assume that if an employee is going to stay active, they’ll do it on their own personal time.

But there’s a big flaw in this way of thinking. Companies have a vested interest in ensuring that their employees remain healthy. Healthier employees tend to be more focused, energized and positive during work. They are also typically out of the office less. If you feel like your company could do a better job at promoting employee health, here are a few great ways to make that shift:

Provide Healthier Snack Options

Employees get hungry during the day, and not everyone remembers to bring healthy snack options to work. If M&M’s, cookies and sodas are the only snack options offered at the workplace, it’s going to be extremely difficult for someone to eat well. It also sends the message that the company isn’t very concerned about employee health.

Instead of just offering sweets and chips, provide foods like protein bars, packages of almonds, kale chips and fruit (if you can). You probably don’t want to provide ONLY healthy foods, but by at least presenting the option, it will allow employees to make better food decisions.

Set Up Standing Desks and Workspaces

The biggest thing that contributes to bad employee health is the constant sitting hours each day. Our bodies were not designed for that. They were made to move around and be active. Unfortunately, the majority of workplaces are set up so that employees can only work while sitting down. Whether they are working at their desk, conducting a meeting or even eating lunch, employees are forced to sit.

That’s why it’s so important for companies who are interested in employee health to introduce standing desks and ergonomic workspaces into the office. It gives employees the option to introduce some standing into the day. Even if you aren’t able to furnish every employee with a sit to stand desk, you can still put a few standing workstations in different areas.

Institute Designated Stretch Times

Along with introducing height adjustable desks into the office, there’s another way to help break up the monotony of sitting all day—establish set stretch times. Many employees feel like it’s inappropriate to stop working in order to stretch. But research suggests that stretching regularly is necessary for good health if you work at a desk.

By having established times each day, it will help employees feel more comfortable about getting up and moving. Designate times in the morning and afternoon where employees are allowed to take a 10 minute break. Emphasize to employees that it’s a stretching break, to help increase blood circulation, and not meant as a time to do whatever they want.

Plan Healthy Team Building Activities

Team building activities are extremely important for building camaraderie and improving the working relationship between coworkers. Instead of just grabbing a drink after work, make the activity something that’s going to promote your health. Start a company sports team like kickball or bowling, or participate in a charity walk or run. Try to look for volunteering opportunities that allow you to give back while also being active, like rebuilding houses. You’ll be killing three birds with one stone—improving camaraderie, giving back to the community and getting fit.

Offer a Discounted Gym Membership

Gym memberships can get pretty pricey, which can deter lots of people from joining one. But gyms are the perfect motivator to get people in the habit of working out. In order to help with membership costs, many gyms will partner with companies to offer discounted rates for their employees. It will be a great way to reward your employees for all their hard work, and without a high membership fee, your employees will have much more initiative to join the gym.

If you are really interested in helping your employees stay healthy, our TrueNorth standing workstations are the perfect solution. Check out our line of height adjustable desks and request a brochure to learn more about their benefits for employees.

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