In the modern workplace, health and safety can easily get ignored. Management and staff alike often focus too much on productivity, neglecting the human side of their daily space. While getting work done is of course the primary purpose of your job, it’s essential that you remember to keep an eye on health and safety. People are, after all, the ones doing the work, and the workforce is far superior when made up of healthy, happy people.
So how to promote good practices that keep the office full of energy and good spirits? There are lots of easy ways to remind everyone of good health and promote safe habits. Here are a few of them.
Set a Good Example
Start small by being healthy yourself! No need to start a formal program or put up educational posters if that’s not your thing. Even quiet, introverted types can inspire healthy habits.
Performing office exercises is a good start. Tons of folks are interested in doing workplace exercise, but they can be shy about looking odd. If you and some of your colleagues start doing it, you can normalize this behavior, making everyone feel comfortable about taking care of themselves without the fear of becoming the office weirdo.
Eating well in the breakroom, too, can lead to a healthier workplace for everyone. When everyone sees the delicious, nutritious home-cooked meals you bring each day for lunch, their prepackaged microwavable meals will start to look sad and unappealing. Healthy food is great food, and you can demonstrate that to your peers without saying a word.
Establish Reward Programs
Good health care coverage is absolutely necessary. If you’ve got the authority to establish reward for good health, go for it! A health-minded manager or human resources staff can offer concrete rewards for responsible behavior. Many innovative companies offer perks for healthy behavior. Your company’s insurance managers will be thrilled; healthy people require less health care than do the sick and out of shape.
Your employees will appreciate the effort you put into taking care of them. Loyalty is a tough thing to get from your workers, but you’ll get it when you demonstrate that you value their personal lives, not just their workplace productivity.
Get Good Signs
Education is of the utmost importance when promoting good health. Go beyond just the Osha-required signs about lifting with your legs and being careful around pinch points. The FDA and several other reputable organizations provide free posters, infographics, and other postable materials that offer solid advice about nutrition, good foods, other healthy habits.
Signs are good way to dispel food myths and help people find proper information. Ignorance is a strong barrier between people and good health, and many people put themselves at risk by relying on fads, crash diets, and other poor health habits. Then, when these bad techniques produce bad results, people get frustrated and give up on good health altogether.
Good nutritional advice—whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and replacing junk food with the real stuff—is surprisingly easy to follow, not to mention enjoyable. And with a visually appealing, easy to read poster, you can ensure that workers get that good advice without having to take a dive into complex research.
Start a Club
Get healthy together! People in offices love clubs, work groups, and other programs that help them work things out together. Put together a group of people who like to discuss nutrition, work out, or even cook meals together. Swapping healthy recipes and showing off your kitchen creations—not mention your increasingly good looks—will inspire the other folks at your workplace to rise to your challenge. Even if things get a little competitive, no sweat! Racing to health is good for pretty much everyone!
You don’t have to start a club to get people interested in responsible eating habits. Just a simple lunchroom conversation about the pros and cons of various foods will inspire people to start thinking about food. And people love to talk about food. Few things bond people more quickly than geeking out about home-baked breads and vegetable soups.
Talking about food and nutrition is great way to show people that good health is enjoyable. For too many years, health fanatics have focused on what not to do and eat, making a healthy lifestyle appear to be one based around sacrifice and deprivation. But when you focus on what to eat and do, you demonstrate that eating well and exercising is delicious and fun! People will respond much more positively to positive enforcement.
Talk Physical Activity
As with nutrition, people have for far too long discussed physical activity as if it were a form of competitive self-torture. Gym goers have talked about “no pain, no gain” and brought a needless swagger to the image of the healthy person.
Physical activity is fun, though. And it doesn’t need to be extreme. To increase your health, you don’t have to lift weights and jog five miles a day. Just take a walk! If you and your co-workers spend even 20 minutes a day walking outside during your lunch break, you’ll find yourselves becoming more energetic, healthier, and happier. You’ll also becoming closer; walking in a group is a great way to start up interesting, passionate conversations.
Make Healthy Food Available
If your company has a cafeteria, petition for healthy food options. Lack of access to good food is one of the biggest barriers people face when trying to take care of themselves. People get grouchy and tired when working, and those bad attitudes can make it tempting to eat junk. But if they have good-tasting, well-prepared meals with fresh ingredients at hand, your company can make the right choice easy to make.
Even if your company only has vending machines, you can make sure they contain at least a couple moderately healthy snacks such as prepackaged nuts (bonus point if you can get them unsalted!) or dried fruits.
2017: a Year for Workplace Health
It’s time to take care of ourselves. This year, let’s all make it easy and fun to get healthy. Education, information, rewards, and responsible habits can make a healthy lifestyle accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Let’s go!