6 Ways to Promote Healthy Habits in the Workplace

Promote Healthy Habits.

As Americans continue to face the task of managing their health amid rising healthcare costs, businesses brace themselves for their portion of the bill. According to the Partnership for Fighting Chronic Disease, about 59% of the population is affected by one or more chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. As the number of individuals with chronic illness increases, so does the overall cost of healthcare and insurance premiums. The good news is that many chronic illnesses are both treatable and preventable. The earlier a potential health problem is addressed, the less costly it can be to manage in the future. While there are no quick fixes to this growing problem, organizations can take steps to promote preventative health measures and encourage healthy habits in employees and their families.

6 Ways to Encourage Healthy Behaviors in the Workplace:

1. Partner with a workout facility.

Many gyms or other workout facilities are willing to partner with businesses of all sizes. They are often eager to provide discounts or incentives as this builds their book of business, too. For example, Tandem HR partners with LifeTime Fitness to promote wellness to employees and our clients’ employees. New members receive additional benefits like personal training sessions and waved set up fees. They also contribute toward monthly dues when an employee visits the gym a minimum number of days per month.

2. Offer healthy snacks in the breakroom and vending machines.

Make it easy for employees to choose fresh fruits and vegetables over packaged salty and fatty snacks; services like Peapod and Amazon Fresh make this surprisingly simple. Don’t forget beverage options too! Provide flavored water, tea, and juices as alternatives to soda choices.

3. Invest in biometric screenings for your employees and host them onsite.

Conducted by a nurse or phlebotomist, biometric screenings include body measurements such as height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure. Participants will be asked to take a fasting blood test and complete a health questionnaire to identify their health habits and level of physical activity.The results of the screening and questionnaire, shared with the employee only, benchmark the employee’s health and offers ways to improve it. It will identify red flags that may lead to more severe health problems. While employers do not have access to individual results, an aggregate report can help you determine problem areas in your employee group as a whole, which can help you target interventions. The cost will vary by screening provider, but typically ranges between $40 and $70 per participant.

4. Sponsor professional races and encourage your employees to participate.

Races, ranging from 5Ks to marathons, are plentiful in most cities around the country. Many of them partner with charities, allowing you to promote your organization’s community involvement simultaneously. If any of these events draw your ideal client, you may also benefit from marketing opportunities that present themselves!

5. Encourage movement in the workplace.

Employees with desk jobs spend almost 70% of the workday sitting. Our bodies do not respond favorably to this type of inactivity. You can suggest that your employees:
• Form a walking club for lunchtime or other breaks
• Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch
• Walk laps while meeting with a colleague
• Learn correct ergonomics in the workplace while you provide them with the necessary equipment
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible
• Park at the far end of the parking lot
• Take turns utilizing a work surface built on a treadmill

6. Promote the wellness aspects of your benefits plans.

This can include your healthcare plan, Employee Assistance Program, or other benefits. Don’t hesitate to ask your representative to identify them and discuss promotional activities with you.

While employers cannot force healthy behaviors on their employees, they can positively influence their choices and actions. After all, the workplace is where employees typically spend a majority of their time. What type of environment and activities will you promote?

Learn how you can better incent employees toward healthy behaviors. Contact Tandem HR today for a free consultation at simplify@tandemhr.com or 630.928.0510. Tandem HR is a Chicago-based and IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (“CPEO”) working with hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses to create exceptional workplaces. Learn more at TandemHR.com.