7 tips for promoting a healthy lifestyle to your employees
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library
January marked National Obesity Awareness Week, encouraging people across the nation to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It’s certainly a fitting time, as many individuals make plans to kick-start the New Year with new fitness and diet goals. That said, recent data from CV-Library revealed that professionals are struggling to stay fit and eat healthy, with many admitting that their job plays a large part in this.
We all know the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise and thankfully, there are many ways in which businesses can help their staff to make healthier choices. Below I will outline seven tips for promoting a healthy lifestyle in your organisation and explain how this can benefit your business and employees.
1. Workplace perks
Despite experts recommending that we exercise three to five times a week, a third (31.6%) of UK professionals revealed that they only exercise once or twice. What’s more, one in four (24%) confessed that they don’t exercise at all! This is surprising given that 81.5% agree that regular exercise helps them to stay focused at work.
It is therefore in the interest of businesses to promote regular exercise to employees. How can this be done? A simple but effective way is to offer workplace perks such as discounted memberships for local gyms. After all, forking out for a gym membership can be enough to put someone off signing up! If your business is big enough, why not even consider offering your own gym facilities on site for staff to use.
2. Promote health schemes
Another great way to encourage employees to be more active is through incentivised programmes. These could be cycle or walk to work schemes, which reward staff for taking a different route to work. Of course, this is harder for those who live further away, but it could be that they get off their bus a few stops earlier to walk the rest of the way.
This is also a helpful idea if your business is limited on parking space, as it encourages more employees to leave their cars at home!
3. Encourage work-life balance
A good work-life balance is not only important for our mental wellbeing, enabling us to re-charge away from work, but it is also important for our physical wellbeing. In fact, two thirds of professionals (66.7%) admit that they sometimes have to skip their workout, because they’ve had to stay late at the office.
Promoting a healthy balance can encourage your employees to set aside more time to take care of themselves outside of work. This could mean ensuring they have time to work out, allowing them more time to cook a healthy evening meal and even time to prepare food for the next day – all great ways to stay healthy and feel productive!
4. Offer more flexible working
One of the main reasons that workers gave for not doing a regular workout was that they struggled to fit it in around work. For four in 10 professionals (39.2%), they found it too hard fit in exercise before they start work.
So how can this be tackled? Offering more flexible working is one option. After all, it can help staff to fit exercise around their job. This could mean starting or finishing early, depending on what time of day they prefer to workout.
5. Allow regular breaks
Some of the top causes for weight gain at work were sitting at a desk all day (50.1%), snacking a lot during work (40.3%), and eating more due to the stress of the job (31.2%). Allowing staff to take regular breaks can help to combat this, giving them a chance to step away from their desk to make a drink, or even go for a short walk. This is also an effective way to help them de-stress.
What’s more, you should also encourage staff to make the most of their lunch break. Sitting at a desk all day can take its toll and though there may not be time for a workout on your lunch break, even just a short stroll around the block can work wonders.
6. Offer healthy snacks
Three quarters of professionals (72.8%) believe that their job has had a negative effect on what they eat, with 36.4% saying they have gained weight as a result. This could be for a number of reasons; grabbing food on the go, being located next to fast food chains or unhealthy snacks around the office. Whatever the cause, healthy eating is important to stop staff feeling sluggish post-lunch, and keep them feeling productive.
One of the best ways to promote healthy eating is by ensuring that healthy food is easily accessible. Perhaps offer complimentary snacks, such as fruit, for staff to have during the day. Aim to avoid vending machines full of unhealthy treats and if you have a canteen for staff to eat in, ensure it’s stocked with plenty of wholesome meals.
7. Organise healthy team lunches
It can be nice to organise social events for all staff to get involved with, though the temptation can often be to go for a few drinks after work. Instead, consider organising a healthy team lunch. This is particularly nice in the summer, when people can sit outside and gives everyone a chance to catch up. Not to mention the fact that it helps people to keep on top of their healthy eating habits.
Overall, there are benefits for both staff and employees when it comes to promoting a healthy lifestyle. Healthy, happy staff are more likely to be alert, productive and creative. Simple perks or schemes can encourage employees to be more active. And when it comes to eating right, ensure there is plenty of access to healthy foods. Taking these small steps can work wonders for taking care of the wellbeing of your workforce.
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