So, we spend a third of our lives at work, which means if we have a desk job we spend at least a third of our lives sitting. Not only are we sitting, we are likely dealing with some sort of work stress (and potentially even dragging some personal stress to work with us) as well. The combination of sitting and stressing is killing us. Chances are you already know this and know the importance of taking active breaks to improve your health and manage your stress. So why aren’t you doing it? You picked up the pedometer from HR, you see the flier on the bulletin board reminding you to stretch each hour, and work recently installed a walking treadmill, yet you still don’t feel it. What gives?
The fact is, until recently work and exercise have never been associated. The gym was for exercise and work was well, where you work. Besides, what in an office setting says to you “this place is so motivating, it makes me want to drop to the floor and knock out 20 push-ups”? Not. In the past, doing a few laps around the office mid day would have been frowned upon but, luckily, times are changing.
If this scenario reminds you of your employees you are over due for a change. It is time to let your employees know that you support their mid day laps as well as create an environment that says, “Hey! Get up, grab a co-worker, hit the corporate gym, and come back refreshed and focused!” Here are five ways to get moving in the right direction:
- Set the example (and expect your managers to do the same)- Look, you know your healthy employees are your best employees, but are you one of them? Are you working at your optimal level? If not, you should be. I can guarantee that the example you set speaks volumes of what you expect from your employees. If you are setting an unhealthy example, those who need to improve their health will believe that your company does not support it. Those who already get it will have less respect for you. You are losing all the way around. If you set a healthy example you are setting the tone for the entire office- your employees will know that their health is important too and you support that.
- Create a challenge everyone WANTS to participate in- Challenges have become mainstream in the corporate wellness world and for good reason. People are more likely to participate in a team environment with a goal. The problem is, not everyone wants to participate in a walking challenge. Especially not your fitness fanatics. On the flip side, your unfit population doesn’t want to run in your company 5K. To really engage your total population you need a challenge that meets everyone where they are yet challenges them to push themselves. Check out RivalHealth for a solution.
- Incentivize with the right incentives- We know from studies that incentives work. But again, not everyone wants to win a Fit Bit. Incentives can be tricky. If your employees average salary is higher than average, t-shirts and water bottles may not excite them. If you want your employees to participate and be engaged you have to reward them with something meaningful. I am fond of Amazon gift cards. This allows your employees to cash in on something they want and shopping on Amazon is easy and delivery is quick! We all love instant gratification.
- Brand a wellness program- Some of our most successful clients have a branded wellness program. This sends a stronger message to your employees making it clear that wellness is integrated into your company’s culture. It also allows you to house all things wellness under your wellness brand and becomes very recognizable. It gives you a platform for a vision and a set of values that supports your company’s mission.
- Make it convenient- Wellness has to be accessible. When I say accessible I mean from anywhere at any time. Not to say that lunch and learns are not great; but the fact is, not everyone can break away from work, not to mention the topic may only interest select employees. Whether you accept it or not, our world has gone virtual and wellness has embraced it. Of course not everyone responds to technology but more people do than not. If you are not using technology to make wellness available to everyone at anytime you are missing out on a powerful tool.