May 7, 2018
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion1, the goal of Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in the workplace through education and health promotion activities. That includes staying active, eating a well-balanced diet, and being conscious of making healthy decisions overall.
The benefits of a healthy workforce are well worth the effort put in by your organization. Other than the obvious advantages of your employees living healthier and the decrease in absenteeism, employees may also become happier, more engaged, and more productive in their day-to-day tasks.
But how can you get your employees involved in workplace wellness and encourage them to pursue a healthy lifestyle both in and out of the office?
Help Your Employees Make Smart Food Choices
Workplaces struggle with getting their employees to eat healthy meals and snacks. Aside from filling your vending machines or cafeteria with healthier options, consider hosting an event during Employee Health and Fitness Month focused around healthy snacking. Your organization supplies the snack and the educational materials, while your employees have a chance to network with colleagues.
Free food is a good way to secure attendees, but also make a point of getting leadership involved. When employees see that their management cares about healthy initiatives in the workplace, it’s more likely they will take it to heart.
Additional ways to help your employees make healthy lunch choices include:
- Offering a clean area to prepare their lunches, including refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, and toasters
- Ordering healthier lunch and snack options during meetings over the lunch hour
- Providing various healthy options in your workplace cafeteria and clearly presenting the nutritional values of items
- Ensuring easy access to filtered water
Embrace the Great Outdoors
Now that spring has sprung, your employees can’t use the cold weather as an excuse to stay indoors. While they are at work, encourage them to take their lunch break outside, whether it’s to eat with colleagues or for a brisk walk around the block.
At our MedExpress Administrative Offices, we host a challenge for employees to walk the most miles over a certain number of weeks. This inspires them not only to take 30 minutes out of the day and walk around the office park, but to also go home after work and get additional exercise by providing a little healthy competition with their co-workers. The top three winners at the end of the challenge are awarded with points that can be cashed in for prizes.
This is just an example of the many types of challenges your workplace could easily host to encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles.
A few other things to keep in mind when planning a wellness challenge:
- Communication is key. Eighty-five percent of employers offer some sort of wellness program, but only 60 percent of their employees are aware that their company offers one.2 Make sure to communicate your Global Employee Health and Fitness Month initiatives in advance via the most appropriate methods. For example, do your employees regularly use email? An email communication from your organization’s leadership might be the way to go.
- Encourage participation by upper management. Just as mentioned with the wellness events that you host, getting leadership involved in the challenge is another way to show that health and fitness are a priority in your workplace.
- Offer time throughout the day for the program. If the program is only offered before or after work, many employees may not want or be able to participate. Even simply designing an appropriate program that they can do over their lunch hour or breaks will build participation.
Encourage Regular Health Screenings and Check-ups
Aside from Employee Health and Fitness month, spring is a season of new beginnings. With biometric screenings or health assessments, your employees can learn about the positive changes they can make in their health.
These screenings are also an opportunity for preventive health and to identify and lower health risks. Through biometric point-of-care testing such as glucose, lipids, and other labs, employees can learn about their risk for chronic preventable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.
Many healthcare providers, including MedExpress, can bring these services right to your workplace. With an episodic on-site, our medical team comes to you for a scheduled day and time and your employees never have to leave work. This is just another way to show your employees that you have a vested interest in their well-being and are offering convenient ways to stay healthy.
Are You in Need of Educational Materials?
To get employees personally invested in your health and fitness initiatives, align your educational materials around health topics that are relevant to them. Assess your workforce and the health problems that the majority of your audience faces.
MedExpress has a library of free “healthy handouts” that are perfect for Global Employee Health and Fitness Month. If you’re interested in receiving educational materials for your workplace, contact us at EHSSales@medexpress.com.
1 May is Global Employee Health & Fitness Month.Updated May 18, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2018.
2 Why Your Workplace Wellness Program Isn't Working. Updated May 13, 2014. Accessed September 21, 2017.