Maybe it’s the age-old belief that surrounds office jobs – that is, it’s really hard to stay healthy at work because the nature of the job is rooted in sitting at a computer.
But you’re an outlier, aren’t you?
Yes, you see past these notions and know that there is an important place for health and wellness in every workplace.
Even though it is challenging to look for ways to make positive, healthy changes in your professional life and your colleagues’ lives, remember: Your organization is going to be so much better off because of these initial steps you’re taking.
Why It Matters to Stay Active at a Desk Job
When an organization takes the time to establish a culture of wellness and makes healthy habits a priority, its employee population not only becomes healthier, but it begins to transform in a multitude of ways.
An organization with a workforce that shows up every day with a sound mind, body and spirit and finds it easy to continue their healthy habits throughout the workday is much more likely to be:
- Engaged and connected to the company’s mission and vision
- Productive and motivated to exceed goals
- Innovative and creative at problem solving
- Loyal and committed to staying with the company to grow their career
Organizations that encourage employees to stay active at their desk job – and give employees the tools and health and wellness ideas in the workplace to make the most of their eight hours – also see an impact to the bottom line.
According to the Harvard Business Review, employers who promoted a healthy lifestyle and invested in wellness initiatives – such as a wellness program – saw a six-dollar savings in healthcare for every dollar invested.
The ROI for certain wellness programs can’t be ignored, either. If an organization invests in the right wellness program – one that evolves to meet the employee population’s needs over time – businesses can see an ROI of $1.50 for every dollar spent and an ROI of $3.80 for every dollar invested in disease management, according to the Rand Corporation.2
10 Health and Wellness Ideas in the Workplace
Here are 10 health and wellness ideas you can use in your workplace and present to your HR team so you can stay healthy at work and inspire others to do the same:
1. Make Healthy Office Snacks Accessible
Snacking is a beloved part of any day, especially while working. The best thing about snacking is that the right snacks can help with attention, concentration and productivity.
As you well know, however, today’s average snack selection can hardly be considered healthy, and with vending machines as the main snack source, those sugary, fatty, processed foods won’t move you or your organization forward.
When wholesome snack choices like nuts, fruits and vegetables are available in the break room, communal areas and the cafeteria, stomachs and minds will be satisfied and overall focus, energy and brain function will be higher than ever.
2. Invest in a Fleet of Standing Desks and High-Top Tables
Without a focus on wellness and activity, work can translate to many sedentary hours, days and years.
Adding an adjustable, standing desktop to your workspace – or advocating for high-top tables throughout the office – can significantly cut some of the deadly sitting time.
Here’s a big bonus: While you’re standing, you can do a multitude of extremely simple yet effective exercises, like squeezing and releasing your core muscles, or pressing up and down on your toes to work your leg muscles.
3. Ignite the Competitive Spirit via a Step Competition
Everyone loves a fun competition, and walking is something that almost anyone is comfortable participating in.
To up the ante, wellness-centered prizes – like gym memberships, yoga classes and healthy foods – can be awarded.
4. Encourage Outside Meetings and Workspaces
Proven by numerous studies – and felt first-hand by just stepping outside and taking a deep breath – fresh air and nature can do wonders for the mind.
Outdoor meetings and workspaces – even walking meetings – can considerably relieve stress, encourage movement, promote sociability, and help diminish symptoms of mental illness.
5. Get a Handle on Anxiety and Stress
Just because stress and anxiety are common emotions doesn’t mean they’re not. They can even affect physical health, morale, engagement, productivity, motivation and creativity.
Reining in harmful emotions and thoughts starts by talking about them. In the workplace, this can be accomplished through evidence-based interventions, workshops, speakers and candid conversations with trusted peers.
6. Make Mental Health a Top Priority
In addition to bringing stress and anxiety to the forefront and providing means of help, depression and other mental health challenges should also be addressed.
Adopting an office-wide meditation time, reminders to be mindful, and in-office yoga classes can be monumental steps in helping you and your colleagues reduce stress and make mental health a priority.
7. Open the Doors to Four-Legged Friends
At home and at work, dogs (and cats) help reduce our stress and make us happier, but did you know they can also help the workforce become more productive and collaborative?3
Don’t forget that dogs need to be walked, which means more physical activity for us humans.
If you can’t have dogs roaming loose in your office space, aquariums can also help reduce stress.
8. Have Fresh Fruits and Veggies Delivered to the Office
In today’s health food fueled society, there are organizations popping up all over that will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to the office – on a weekly or monthly basis – for employees who sign up for the service.
Have the fruits and vegetables delivered to the break room to be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to encourage healthier snack and meal choices.
9. Initiate Walking/Running/Biking Lunches
A mid-day break to get the blood pumping and endorphins racing is exceedingly advantageous for health, productivity and general mood when returning to crank out the rest of the day’s work.
When a group commits to meeting up and moving their bodies, individuals can feel more motivated to follow through, more likely to enjoy the exercise, and feel a true sense of bonding and camaraderie.
10. Work Toward a Smoke-Free Policy
Any way you cut it, smoking is damaging—to the health of the smoker, the health of those exposed to secondhand smoke, and to overall job performance.
Making a smoke-free policy throughout the entire workplace with no designated smoking areas and personalized, effective support to help smokers quit is a huge step toward a healthy workplace.
Some organizations see smoke-free policies as crossing the line, but sometimes it’s the right answer when the end goal is to help smokers live a healthier life.
The key is to clearly communicate your organization’s objective, provide cessation tools, and help any employee who needs it.
A Healthier, More Active Culture Starts with a Tailored Employee Wellness Program
Get clinical recommendations on improvements you can make to your culture and environment through a comprehensive workplace wellness assessment from Bravo and Cleveland Clinic. Through a series of surveys, focus groups, onsite evaluation and a discovery session with your leadership team, we'll provide a detailed roadmap on how to create a culture of wellness from the top down. The recommendations are culturally specific, and suggest engagement strategies to get the most out of your program and initiatives. Learn more about the Cleveland Clinic | Bravo solution on our upcoming webinar.
You don’t have to be a part of leadership to build a team of wellness advocates.
We’ll teach you how to construct a business case for a wellness champion network that leadership can buy into, who to look for and how to recruit them, activity ideas to get started and so much more.
1 Harvard Business Review. What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs? Accessed April 11, 2019. https://hbr.org/2010/12/whats-the-hard-return-on-employee-wellness-programs.
2 Society for Human Resource Management. The Real ROI for Employee Wellness Programs. Accessed April 11, 2019. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/real-roi-wellness.aspx.
3 The Economist. Manager's best friend. Accessed April 11, 2019. https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2010/08/12/managers-best-friend.